No restrictions for Muslims on Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif

Kerry obtained engagement in reducing tension in Jerusalem

14 November, 10:20

    The Dome of the Rock in the background as a Palestinian reads the  Koran in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound (file photo) The Dome of the Rock in the background as a Palestinian reads the Koran in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound (file photo)

    (ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV- For the first time in a while, no age limitations will be in place for Muslim worshippers attending Friday prayers at the Jerusalem holy site known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif and as Temple Mount to Jews.

    Israeli police took the decision after an agreement Thursday in Amman between Premier Benyamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State John Kerry and King Abdallah II.

    A firm engagement to cut tension in Jerusalem was obtained by Kerry at the meeting with Netanyahu and the Jordanian king, Kerry told reporters.

    Escalating tension in Jerusalem has alarmed Washington, which has been trying to halt it while putting Israeli and Palestinians around a negotiating table - though separately, for now.

    On Thursday for the first time in Amman, Kerry met Netanyahu in a surprise visit to the Jordanian capital. And, most importantly, he met him with King Abdallah - who has control over an international trust in charge of the volatile area, which is the holiest site in Judaism and one of the three holiest sites in Islam - to discuss the situation in Jerusalem and the open contrast between the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) and Israel, in a trilateral summit.

    The Jordanian monarch immediately denounced ''unilateral initiatives'' by the Jewish State in the Holy City and stressed ''the importance of the US role to restart peace talks based on a two-State solution and the initiative of Arab peace''.

    Before the summit, the US diplomacy chief discussed the same issues with Abu Mazen, who reached Ramallah after a commemoration of Yasser Arafat's 10-year death anniversary.

    According to a number of observers, Amman appears at this time as the only place to re-start dialogue which up until yesterday was deemed impossible, given the reciprocal accusations launched by Netanyahu and Abu Mazen.

    The Palestinian president, slammed ''incursions'' - denounced once again yesterday by the PLO's Hanna Ashrawi - by right-wing nationalist settlers and new Israeli construction plans in East Jerusalem as vying to create a ''religious war''.

    While promising he will not change the status quo on Temple Mount - Which Jews can visit but where they cannot pray - Netanyahu denounced Abu Mazen for ''inciting'' violence, blaming him as morally responsible for attacks against Israelis.

    Meanwhile incidents were reported Thursday amid spiraling tension: an 11-year-old Palestinian was wounded in clashes with the Israeli army after stones and firecrackers were hurled in the volatile eastern district of Issawyia.

    The diplomatic scenario is also tense: the PNA is gearing up to present by the end of the month a resolution to the UN Security Council for the recognition of Palestine as a State within 1967 borders and for the end of Israeli occupation by 2016. The move has been criticized by the US and slammed by Israel as unilateral and going against a possible peace accord through direct talks. (ANSAmed)

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