Jordan, Islamic Waqf officials meet in Al-Aqsa for talks on de-escalation
Abdul Sattar Al-Qudah, a senior official of the Jordanian Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf), is "personally following developments" after arriving in Jerusalem on Thursday, a source told The New Arab's sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Al-Qudah’s visit to the occupied city came after Israeli forces stormed the holy compound earlier this week, brutally assaulting and detaining hundreds of Palestinians, both on Tuesday and Wednesday.
The Jerusalem Waqf and Islamic Affairs Council is is the Jordanian-appointed body that manages the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
The meetings were aimed at preventing further incidents at Al-Aqsa after hundreds of Palestinians spent Saturday night at the mosque in itikaf - a Muslim religious practice which involves spending prolonged hours inside a mosque to devote oneself to worship.
Since the beginning of Ramadan almost three weeks ago, Israeli forces have violently attempted to stop Palestinian worshippers from carrying out the practice.
According to the source, Israeli police and settlers could storm the prayer hall again despite the meetings held by the Jordanian Waqf officials, while Palestinian worshippers have already barricaded themselves inside the Muslim place of worship, in anticipation of such raids.
Israeli extremist groups have threatened to storm the site, using the slogan "It’s time to end the situation" to incite against Palestinian worshippers and the Jordan Waqf officials, according to Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
Jordanian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Sinan al-Majali warned on Saturday of "catastrophic consequences" should Israeli forces storm the holy site again.
"If Israeli police assault worshipers again, it would push the situation towards more tension and violence, for which everyone will pay the price," the ambassador said in a statement late on Saturday, as reported by CNN.
"The Israeli government bears responsibility for the escalation in Jerusalem and in all the occupied Palestinian territories and for the deterioration that will worsen if it does not stop its incursions into the holy al-Aqsa mosque, and its terrorisation of worshipers in these blessed days," he stressed.
Prior to the Jordanian official's visit, the Turkish consul general in the occupied territories, Ahmet Demirer, met with a number of leaders of the Waqf council on Friday, as well as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, and a number of volunteer paramedics.
The consul, who performed Friday prayers at the mosque, denounced Israel’s attacks on Al-Aqsa, calling them "unacceptable".
The brutal raids also drew global condemnation from the Arab world and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres.