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'Occupation is the basis of evil': Jordanian FM

Jordanian FM's calls Israeli occupation 'evil', spark anger in Israel: reports
2 min read
13 April, 2023
Jordanian FM Ayman Safadi said that Jordan would not "accept anything less than respect for the historical and legal status quo in the holy sites."
Jordan's royal family has custodianship over Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem. [Getty]

In a speech on Wednesday, Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi urged Israel to stop "all measures that undermine the two-state solution" in Palestine and condemned its attacks on Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque.

Safadi further said that the "occupation is the basis of evil" and said that Jordan would not "accept anything less than respect for the historical and legal status quo in the holy sites."

According to reporting by Axios, Israeli officials privately said that Safadi’s comments sparked outrage in Tel Aviv.

Israel has reportedly asked the US and UAE to ask Safadi to "calm down the rhetoric," but Jordan instead asked them to redirect their comments to Israel.

Safadi's comments come after an Israeli raid in al-Aqsa mosque on 4 April, where Israeli security forces beat and arrested hundreds of worshipers.

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The royal Hashemite family of Jordan has custodianship over Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

Its supervision of the religious sites, particularly al-Aqsa which is the third holiest site in Islam, is a key part of the royal family's legitimacy in Jordan.

Jordanian King Abdullah II has warned previously that Hashemite custodianship over Jerusalem's holy sites is a "red line," and warned Israel's new right-wing government not to cross it.

Jordan hosted Israeli, Palestinian, Egyptian and US officials in Aqaba on 26 February in an effort to de-escalate rising tensions in Palestine and Jerusalem.

The parties signed the Aqaba Joint Communique, which called for de-escalation and an end to new Israeli settlements for the next four months.

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On 20 March, Jordanian, Palestinian, Israeli and US officials met in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt to discuss the rising violence in the Palestinian territories.

Both Palestinian and Israeli officials pledged to work towards peace talks and de-escalate tensions on the ground.

During the last month, which coincided with both the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the Jewish Passover holiday, tensions have further escalated.

Following the Israeli raid on al-Aqsa, Hamas launched rockets towards Israel from the Gaza Strip and south Lebanon, prompting Israeli rocket strikes on both areas.

On 11 April, hundreds of Israeli settlers stormed the al-Aqsa compound under the protection of Israeli police, further stoking tensions.