US Vice-President Joe Biden and King Abdullah of Jordan discussed the recent violence in Jerusalem ignited by Palestinian terrorists. The Hashemite king blamed Israel, and Biden called for restraint on both sides.
US Vice-President Joe Biden spoke with King Abdullah of Jordan on Tuesday about the latest wave of violence in Jerusalem and specifically on the Temple Mount, which is officially under the purview of the Hashemite Kingdom.
According to a White House statement, Biden thanked the King for his “continued leadership in the region, particularly in the coalition to counter ISIL [Islamic State] in Syria and Iraq, and reiterated the United States’ unwavering commitment to Jordan’s security and stability.”
Both expressed joint “concern about recent violence and rising tensions” regarding Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, known to the Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.
Biden called on “all parties to exercise restraint, refrain from provocative actions, and to uphold the historic status quo at the holy site.”
Jerusalem saw a similar wave of Palestinian terror on the Temple Mount last November. The violence ended abruptly after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry met with King Abdullah in Jordan.
In a similar statement, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Tuesday that the US “remains deeply concerned by the recent violence and escalating tensions,” calling on all sides to exercise restraint “and preserve unchanged the historic status quo” at the holy site, “both in word and in practice.”
King Abdullah threatened to severe Jordan’s diplomatic ties with Israel, warning the Jewish State that the kingdom was “very concerned and angered with the recent escalation in Jerusalem, specifically in Al Aqsa Mosque.”
“We have gotten reassurances from the Israelis government that this would not happen. Unfortunately, these are reassurances we have heard in the past,” the king said in a statement. “Any more provocations in Jerusalem will affect the relationship between Jordan and Israel; and Jordan will have no choice but to take action, unfortunately.”
Tensions Remain High in Jerusalem
In the meantime, tensions remain high on the Temple Mount after Palestinians rioted there for three consecutive days.
Acting on prior intelligence, Israeli police entered the Al-Aqsa mosque compound early Tuesday morning to disperse a group of Palestinian rioters who had barricaded themselves inside the mosque overnight, said police spokeswoman Luba Samri.
The rioters threw rocks, fireworks, concrete blocks and a firebomb at the officers, she said, adding that two Palestinians were arrested and five police officers were injured in the violence.
A firebomb thrown by a Palestinian terrorist at police from within the mosque ignited a rug and wooden planks piled up by the rioters, Samri said. Mosque officials later extinguished the fire, and police managed to restore calm and open the site for visitors, she added.
More Palestinian rioters gathered nearby, and police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse them. Later, police said, a Palestinian attacked two young Jews in Jerusalem’s Old City before running away. He was caught and arrested, police said, adding that he was identified in security camera footage as the assailant.
Similar violent incidents occurred on Sunday and Monday as well.
By: Max Gelber, United with Israel
AP contributed to this report.