"Israel has no sovereignty over the holy sites in Jerusalem," Jordan's foreign minister said Tuesday evening, in response to Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's comments on the Temple Mount.
"This is occupied Palestinian land," Ayman Safadi said in an interview with a Jordanian daily.
"Israel has no sovereignty over the Al Aqsa Mosque - it is a Muslim place of worship, only the Jordanian Waqf has full authority over the management of the compound," the minister said.
Safadi, however, expressed hope for a return to calm, saying that "the way forward is to respect the status quo."
He accused Israel of “making difficult all Waqf measures to maintain security in Al Aqsa Mosque and interfering with the duties of members of the organization."
"The Waqf office has appointed dozens of new workers at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound, but Israel is putting obstacles in their way," he said.
The Jordanian minister made the remarks ahead of Friday's meeting at the White House between King Abdullah II and U.S. President Joe Biden, with the issue of Jerusalem expected to be one of the main topics of the meeting.
A month and a half ago, a request from Jordan to increase the number of Waqf guards on the Temple Mount by about 50 guards, was rejected, the Prime Minister's Office announced on Tuesday.
According to reports, over the past few weeks, six Hamas-backed Waqf guards have been removed from the Temple Mount.
"There is no change or new development in the situation on the Temple Mount - Israel's sovereignty is preserved," the Prime Minister's Office said.
"All decisions regarding Temple Mount will be made by the Israeli government out of considerations of sovereignty, freedom of religion and security, and not under the pressure of foreign or political factors," Bennett said on Sunday.