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Israeli-Palestinian Tensions Spill into Jordan

  • Robert Berger

Security officials park near the approach toward the Israeli embassy in Amman, Jordan, on Sunday, July 23, 2017.

Tensions surrounding a disputed Jerusalem holy place that is sacred to Muslims and Jews has spilled across the border into Jordan.

Angry protests have erupted in Amman, where a guard at the Israeli embassy Sunday shot dead two Jordanians who attacked him with a screwdriver.

The incident complicates Jordanian efforts to resolve a dispute over new Israeli security measures at the Mosque of Al-Aqsa, known to Jews as the Temple Mount.

The installation of security cameras and metal detectors at the holy site in Jerusalem's Old City has sparked Palestinian riots and stabbing attacks.

Israeli Embassy, Amman, Jordan
Israeli Embassy, Amman, Jordan

Jordan is the custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Although Jordan is a key mediator because it has good relations with both Israel and the Palestinians, it now finds itself locked in a diplomatic dispute with the Jewish state over the shooting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is holding contacts with senior officials in Jordan to end the crisis quickly and peacefully.

Israel fears that violence could escalate into a third Palestinian uprising. As tensions remain high, observers say resolving the dispute may prove more difficult. Israel says the measures are necessary to prevent terror attacks like the one by Arab gunmen that killed two police officers on the site nearly two weeks ago.

A Palestinian man walks towards a metal detector at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 19, 2017. A dispute over metal detectors has escalated into a new showdown between Israel and the Muslim world.
A Palestinian man walks towards a metal detector at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 19, 2017. A dispute over metal detectors has escalated into a new showdown between Israel and the Muslim world.

Palestinians say any security checks at the mosque humiliate Muslims and accuse Israel of trying to seize control of the third holiest place in Islam.

In Washington, the Trump administration has expressed concern over the situation, and U.S. envoy Jason Greenblatt is in the region to try and mediate a compromise.

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