[hollow words] US: Status quo must be maintained in Jerusalem

US Secretary State Antony Blinken (Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency)

Middle East Monitor  /  April 19, 2022

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Israel’s attack on Palestinian worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and in the occupied West Bank with his Jordanian counterpart and stressed the importance of maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites, the State Department said in a statement today, Reuters reported.

“Secretary Blinken emphasized the importance of upholding the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, and appreciation for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s special role as custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem,” spokesman Ned Price said in a statement.

Blinken and Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi yesterday also discussed the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the violence and refrain from escalatory actions, he said.

Jordan’s King Abdullah said yesterday that Israel’s “unilateral” moves against Muslim worshippers at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque seriously undermined the prospects for peace in the region, state media said.

The monarch, who was speaking with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, blamed Israel for “provocative acts” in the mosque compound that violated “the legal and historic status quo” of the Muslim holy site.

On Friday, at least 152 Palestinians were wounded when Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and fired at Palestinian worshippers.

A number of US officials engaged in phone calls with Israelis, Palestinians and Arab representatives in the region over the weekend to see to it that tensions in Jerusalem do not escalate, Price told reporters yesterday.

Far-right Jewish groups had called for Jews to storm Al-Aqsa and offer animal sacrifices on its grounds to mark the Passover holiday.