AMMAN — Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Minister Abdul Salam Abbadi on Monday warned Israeli troops against trespassing Al Aqsa Mosque and its surrounding area.
Abbadi’s remarks came as Israeli forces reportedly facilitated the entry of an Israeli Knesset member and a group of Jewish extremists into the mosque, one of the three holiest shrines in Islam.
The group also included around 60 Israeli troops and three security guards, according to a statement issued by the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs.
“The ministry denounces the escalation in Israeli violations committed at Al Aqsa Mosque,” the statement said.
The ministry said the latest act was in flagrant violation of all international agreements, reaffirming Jordan as the custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem.
The Israeli government is also disrespecting UN and UNESCO amendments that protect Islamic sites, the statement said.
The ministry also warned against the consequences of Israeli violations at the Bab Al Magharbeh Bridge, the largest entrance for non-Muslim visitors into Al Aqsa Mosque complex.
The latest violations came after Jordan proposed a solution to UNESCO to renovate the road leading to Bab Al Magharbeh by rebuilding it in a way that is acceptable to all parties.
UNESCO held a meeting on April 18, 2012 which was supposed to include Jordanian and Israeli experts, but the Israeli experts did not show up, the statement said.
In March, a Jordanian proposal regarding Bab Al Magharbeh received “unanimous” approval during the 189th gathering of the UNESCO executive committee in Paris.
The measure underlines the need for Amman’s approval of any plans to alter the pathway leading to Bab Al Magharbeh, an issue that has been the source of rising tensions between Tel Aviv and the Islamic world, and prompted regional protests late last year.
The statement listed other Israeli violations at Al Haram Al Sharif, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.
On May 22, 2012, Israeli forces demolished some parts of the Bab Al Magharbeh path.
About a week later, Israeli authorities allowed a group of Israeli extremists and troops to enter Al Aqsa yards, where they provoked Muslims who were praying in front of the Dome of the Rock by raising the Israeli flag, the statement added.
In June this year, Israeli forces removed some stones that date back to the Ayyubid dynasty from Bab Al Magharbeh.
Several pieces of demolition equipment are constantly being operated in the Buraq Square/Western Wall Plaza, in Islamic tradition the site where the Prophet Mohammad tethered his steed during his nocturnal ascent to heaven, the statement said.
These pieces of equipment are putting the surrounding buildings at the risk of collapse, the ministry explained.
The ministry called on international, Arab and Islamic organisations to exert all efforts to stop the Israeli violations at Al Aqsa Mosque and to help safeguard the rights of Arabs and Muslims in the holy city, where the future Palestinian state will establish its capital.