Saturday, July 29, 2017

Jordan’s king thanks Trump for US role in tempering Temple Mount crisis

WASHINGTON — US President Donald Trump and King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke by phone Friday about the crisis in recent weeks surrounding the Temple Mount, the Royal Hashemite Court announced.
A statement in Jordanian state media said the king thanked Trump for his administration’s role in helping to defuse tensions and stressed the importance of deepening US-Jordan ties “to avoid the recurrence of such crises.”
The call marks the first time Trump has personally injected himself into the crisis that has spurred violent protests, deep tension between Israel and the Palestinians, and a diplomatic imbroglio between Israel and Jordan.
“Both leaders said they were encouraged by the efforts taken to de-escalate tensions and by the progress that has been made,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “They pledged to continue to stay in close communication. President Trump also emphasized Jordan’s important role in regional security.”
Jordan, the custodian of the Temple Mount, and the Palestinians pressured Israel to remove security measures at entrances to the sensitive holy compound, which houses the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock sanctuary. These were set up after a July 14 terror attack in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two Israeli police officers with weapons they had smuggled onto the site.
The introduction of the new Israeli security measures, including metal detectors and cameras, set off near-daily clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli security forces in and around the Old City, East Jerusalem and the West Bank. It also triggered a boycott by Muslim worshipers who threatened not to return to the site until all the installations were removed. READ MORE