Jordanian lawyers urge end of peace treaty with Israel over Al-Aqsa comments
The Jordan Bar Association has urged Jordan to revoke its peace treaty with Israel and expel the Israeli ambassador to Jordan, the president of the association, Mazen Irshaidat, told Jordanian daily Jo24 on Saturday.
"Things have reached their limits, and there must be a firm response from the Jordanian government," Irshaidat told Jo24, urging authorities to close the Israeli embassy in Amman, expel the ambassador and withdraw from the Wadi Araba peace treaty.
Irshaidat's statement follows controversial comments made by Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet on the status of Al-Aqsa mosque. Bennett said last week - following a month of Israeli raids and settler violence against mosque worshippers - that decisions concerning occupied East Jerusalem would be made "solely" by Israel.
“Decisions regarding Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem will be taken by the Israeli government,” Bennett declared.
The comments sparked anger in Jordan, which controlled East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967. The ruling royal Hashemite family has been the custodian of the holy sites in the occupied sector since 1924, including Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
But Jordan's leadership in East Jerusalem religious sites is increasingly disregarded by Israeli authorities.
Their decision to allow Jewish settlers to enter the Al-Aqsa mosque compound to worship during Passover this year sparked anger among Palestinians, who fear that Israel is trying to alter the status quo there. By long-standing tradition, Jews are allowed to visit the Al-Aqsa complex but not to pray at the site.
In late April, around 80 members of Jordan's parliament signed a written request urging the government to close the Israeli embassy in Amman, sever diplomatic ties, and suspend bilateral agreements with Israel over its violations of the status quo. The Jordan Bar Association also released an official letter asking authorities to expel the Israeli ambassador.
Al-Aqsa is one of the last remaining sanctuaries for Muslim Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem, where Palestinian neighbourhoods are increasingly being taken over by Jewish settlers with the backing of Israeli authorities.