Iyar 29, 5773, 09/05/13
President Shimon Peres sends a calming message to Jordan, after it summons the Israeli ambassador over an incident at the Temple Mount.
by Elad Benari
President Shimon Peres sent a calming message to Jordan on Wednesday, after the Jordanian parliament unanimously demanded the government expel Israeli Ambassador Daniel Nevo over an incident at the Temple Mount.
Jordan's official news agency, Petra, reported that the country’s Interior Minister Hussein Majali, the acting foreign minister, had summoned Nevo over the arrest of the Mufti of Jerusalem.
"These Israeli actions violate international law and obstruct peace efforts. As an occupying force, Israel is responsible for preventing such provocations. Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa are a red line," Majali said, according to Petra.
Majali asked Nevo "to convey this message to his government in a very clear way," the news agency reported.
Meanwhile, at a speech at the state ceremony to mark the unification of Jerusalem and in memory of the soldiers who fell in the battle for the city, President Peres stressed Israel's commitment to the agreements with Jordan.
"Jerusalem is dear to us. Peace with Jordan is dear to us. I want to say loudly and clearly that we respect all the holy sites of all religions and will do everything necessary to protect them as agreed between us,” Peres said.
“The peace agreement between us was the aspiration of the soldiers who fought here. The peace that was agreed between us is the dream of all Jews, Muslims and Christians as one. The whole world knows that when we heard voices of peace from Jordan and Egypt we did not delay, we did not hesitate and we stretched out our hand in peace," he added.
Peres addressed the importance of peace and of Jerusalem for all three monotheistic religions, saying, "Jerusalem has mosques and churches, Israel protects and will protect them all. Israel will protect all of Jerusalem, old and new, friends and strangers. Israel will protect their freedom and security. You can hear the same prayer from the Western Wall, from the mosques and from the churches for peace in our ancient, holy city. Peace between countries. Peace between religions. Peace between nations. Our ears are open to peace. We know that our army can protect us from any threat and no threat will weaken our desire for peace."
Earlier Wednesday, Israeli police questioned and released Jerusalem's most senior Muslim cleric for suspected involvement in throwing chairs at a group of Jews on the Temple Mount.
The Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammed Hussein was taken from his home by detectives and was being questioned at a police station "on suspicion of involvement in a disturbance that took place yesterday (Tuesday) on Temple Mount," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP.
The United States subsequently called for both Israel and the Palestinian Authority to exercise restraint over the tensions at the compound.
After Israel liberated the Temple Mount during the 1967 Six Day War, it left the Waqf in charge of the compound.
The Waqf, in return, has removed every sign of ancient Jewish presence at the Jewish holy site and has consistently destroyed Jewish antiquities on the Temple Mount in a direct violation of a ruling by the Supreme Court.