Photo: EPA
Al-Aqsa mosque atop the Temple Mount
Photo: EPA

Jordanian MPs call to expel Israeli envoy over Temple Mount debate

'Security forces need to understand - the Temple Mount is ours,' says MK Feiglin who proposed bill to apply Israeli sovereignty over holy site.

Tensions were rising Wednesday between Israel and Jordan over Likud MK Moshe Feiglin's bill proposal to end Israel's practice of forbidding Jewish prayer on Temple Mount.


The Knesset discussion of the proposal Tuesday has caused uproar in the Jordanian parliament, where 86 out of 150 MPs voted Wednesday in favor of expelling Israel's ambassador to the Kingdom Daniel Nevo and recalling Jordan's envoy to Israel Walid Obeidat.


"This was in protest at the Knesset debate. It is up to the government to act on the vote. If it does not, we will consider a no-confidence motion," Khalil Attieh, a prominent lower house deputy, told AFP.


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State-run Petra news agency said the MPs "demanded the government take immediate action to stop Israel's schemes."


On Tuesday, 47 MPs voted in favor of a motion, which is not legally binding, demanding to annul Israel's 1994 peace treaty with Jordan. The Knesset has not voted on the issue and it is unlikely to pass as the majority of MKs does not want to antagonize Muslims.


Under the peace treaty, Jordan is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.


"Israel's actions clearly violate the peace treaty... it is aggression against Jordanian custodianship," Tuesday's motion said.


In a motion which was not put to a vote, Feiglin said Israel's fear of igniting Muslim rage amounted to discrimination against Jews.


To emphasize Muslim claims and custody of the compound, Jordan's King Abdullah II and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed an agreement last April confirming their "common goal to defending" Jerusalem and its sacred Muslim sites "against attempts to Judaize the Holy City."


At the time, a joint statement said the deal confirmed Jordan's historic role as custodian of Jerusalem's Muslim sites, particularly the flashpoint al-Aqsa mosque compound.


The fate of Jerusalem and its shrines are to be determined in final status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians brokered by the United States.


Speaking to Ynet, Feiglin spoke in favor of applying Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, saying that giving up land in the past has not increased Israel's security, but rather increased terror attacks and rockets.


"What happens, God forbid, when we withdraw from the most fundamental place that justifies our very presence in this country, the Temple Mount?" Feiglin asked.


"This won't bring peace, this is what is going to set the region ablaze," he continued.


Police on Tuesday clashed with stone-throwing Palestinian protesters on the Temple Mount ahead of the Knesset debate.


Feiglin lamented the fact that while order is maintained at the Western Wall, the same cannot be said for the Temple Mount.


"Security forces, the IDF and the Israel Police need to understand that we are fighting over the principle of the matter here - this (the Temple Mount) is ours," he said.


The Jordanian government has so far not commented on the motions raised at the parliament.


But Jordan's opposition Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged the government on Tuesday to freeze the peace deal.


"The custodianship is a Jordanian national interest and a sacred religious duty," said the IAF, the main opposition party.


The Temple Mount, which lies in East Jerusalem's Old City, is a flashpoint because of its significance to both Muslims and Jews.


Sitting above the Western Wall plaza, it houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques and is Islam's third-holiest site.


It is also Judaism's holiest place, being the site of the first and second Jewish temples.


AP contributed to this report. 


פרסום ראשון: 02.26.14, 17:56
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