Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise to Jordan on Tuesday to meet with King Abdullah II, to whom he reportedly vowed not to change the status quo on the flashpoint Temple Mount holy site in Jerusalem.
Netanyahu made the promise more than once during the fleeting visit, Israeli media reported, in addition to assuring the Jordanian monarch that Israel would preserve the Islamic Waqf’s authority over the Temple Mount, which is considered Judaism’s holiest site and the third holiest site in Islam.
Amman earlier this month slammed Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir for ascending the Temple Mount.
Ben-Gvir, in accordance with Jewish law, kept a distance from the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, which is considered to be the place of the holy of holies from the biblical temples and therefore off limits.
Still, that didn’t prevent Amman from accusing the firebrand politician of “storming the Al-Aqsa Mosque and violating its sanctity.”
King Abdullah said last month any change to the status quo would be considered a “red line” and should Israel cross it, the Hashemite kingdom was prepared for a conflict.
According to the status quo, Jews are forbidden from praying on the site, even under their breath.
Ben-Gvir on Wednesday said he would continue ascending the Temple Mount and that it was none of Jordan’s business.
“I manage my own policy concerning the Temple Mount, not that of the Jordanian government,” Ben Gvir told the Kan public broadcaster according to a translation by the Times of Israel.
“With all due respect to Jordan, Israel is an independent country,” he said. “I went up to the Temple Mount, I will continue to go up to the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is the most important place to the Jewish people, and the State of Israel is a sovereign state, an independent state, not under the auspices of any other country.”