Netanyahu calls Abdullah to reassure over Temple Mount status quo

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called King Abdullah II of Jordan to assure him that the status quo would not change on the Temple Mount.

Netanyahu said early Thursday evening, at the start of a meeting with Indian Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh, that he and Abdullah agreed during their conversation to make “every effort to calm the situation.”

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“I explained to him that we’re keeping the status quo on the Temple Mount and that this includes Jordan’s traditional role there, as consistent with the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan,” the Israeli leader said. “We have to make every effort to restore calm, quiet and security. But I think we have to make that effort throughout the world.”

Netanyahu and Abdullah called for an immediate end to all acts of violence and incitement, according to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The Temple Mount site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims, has seen continued and increasing violence of late. Last week, a Temple Mount activist, Rabbi Yehuda Glick, was shot in Jerusalem.

The phone call followed a statement early Thursday from a Netanyahu spokesman in which the prime minister “made it clear that there will be no change in the status quo on the Temple Mount and that whoever expresses a different opinion is presenting a personal view and not the policy of the Government.”

Under the status quo, the Temple Mount is under control of the Muslim Wakf, as it has been since 1967, and only Muslims are permitted to pray at the site, though Jews and Christians may visit.

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel over the issue of the Temple Mount, charging that Israeli forces entered deep into the Al-Aksa Mosque on Wednesday when it chased rioting Muslim workers into the building. Israel denied the assertion.