Israel rejects Jordanian offer to manage Temple Mount


Israeli police stand guard at the entrance to the al-Aqsa compound on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)
Jerusalem said to suggest deploying plainclothes Palestinian police on contested holy site

By Avi Issacharoff||The Times of Israel

Israel recently rejected a Jordanian proposal that would have seen the Hashemite Kingdom begin to oversee visits to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem instead of Israel, Arab sources told The Times of Israel on Monday.

During recent meetings between officials in the Prime Minister’s Office and the Jordanian government, the latter proposed giving the Jordanian-run Muslim Waqf control over entry to the contested holy site — as it had until the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000. Since then Israel has effectively exerted control over entrance to the Temple Mount complex, which is considered Judaism’s holiest site and the third holiest to Muslims.

The Jordanian proposal was aimed at calming tensions over the compound, which has been the focal point of violent Palestinian unrest in the past month. The current outbreak of violence has been fueled by rumors that Israel is plotting to take over the area, where Jews can currently visit but not pray. Israel has adamantly denied the allegations, saying it has no plans to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, and accused the Palestinians of incitement by spreading the rumors.

According to Waqf statistics, 5,790 non-Muslims visited the site in 2010, whereas 12,569 arrived in 2014 and a similar number in 2015.

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