A top Jordanian official has vetoed an Israeli government request to allow Jews to pray in the Haram al-Sharif (The Noble Sanctuary) compound, which contains the al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem.
Abd Al-Nasser Nassar, Amman's top legal adviser for Islamic and Christian property in Jerusalem, told Jordanian daily al-Rad that he is "adamantly opposed" to Jewish worship at the site, which is Islam's third holiest.
The Haram al-Sharif site has been administered by an Islamic Waqf (trust), under the authority of Jordan, since the crusades.
The development came after Arab-Israeli Members of the Knesset were expelled from a parliamentary meeting to discuss plans for the Haram al-Sharif. They were protesting against what they perceive as a desecration of the site, which has recently been stormed several times by Jewish extremists.
They warned that allowing Jewish prayer in the compound would trigger "a third intifada" or Palestinian uprising.
The Islamic Movement also warned Israeli authorities against the plans. Sheikh Kamal al-Hatib, deputy head of the movement, called al-Aqsa "the mouth of a volcano" about to explode.
Hatib also said: "The Palestinian people will rise up to defend al-Aqsa as it did after Ariel Sharon tried to defile it in 2000." Sharon's visit to the site in East Jerusalem in September 2000 sparked the Second Intifada.
The Haram al-Sharif compound, known as Temple Mount to Jews, sits just above the Western Wall plaza, where Jews are allowed to pray.
Temple Mount is considered the holiest site for Jews, as it is the place where God chose the Divine Presence to rest. According to scripture, it is where God gathered dust to create Adam, and also the location where Abraham tied up Isaac. It was also the place where Jews believe the First and Second Temples once stood. The Second Temple was destroyed by Romans in 70 AD.
According to mainstream Judaism, Jews are forbidden from entering Temple Mount for fear they would stumble upon and profane the "Holy of Holies," or the inner sanctum of the Second Temple. This is also why the chief rabbinate has always opposed Jewish worship in the compound.
The Mount is Islam's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. It is considered to be the place where Muhammad travelled to Jerusalem and ascended to heaven.