King Abdullah of Jordan has criticised Israel for attempting to "violate the sanctity" of Jerusalem's al-Aqsa Mosque complex as the site was the scene of clashes and arrests during a Jewish religious festival. The monarch told the al-Dustour daily that Jordan would resist Israel's "blatantly repeated attempts to change the status quo in Jerusalem regarding its landmarks and the prejudice against Islamic and Christian peoples".
After an international agreement in 1994, Jordan was given management of the Temple Mount and al-Aqsa Mosque but Jordanian and Palestinian sides claim that Israel is seeking to change the status at the compound, which is the third holiest site in Islam.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly denied these claims.
King Abdullah said, according to the Jerusalem Post: "Our responsibility towards the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem is our top priority in the international arena, and we use all means necessary to defend al-Aqsa Mosque."
On Sunday 14 August, over 300 Jews visited the site for Tisha B'av, which for Jews marks the destruction of the two ancient temples there. Several were expelled for praying, which is a right reserved only for Muslims.
However a wave of violence has seen 219 Palestinians and 34 Israelis die since October 2015 in Jerusalem, with Israeli authorities saying most Palestinians killed carrying out knife, gun or car-ramming attacks, AFP reported.
The Jordanian king said the current impasse in peace negotiations to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict "feeds violence and extremism in the region".
In July, there was uproar from Israel over a move by the Unesco world heritage committee to vote on a Palestinian-Jordanian draft document to refer to Temple Mount by its Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif.
Israel accused the UN's heritage body of trying to "rewrite history" and deny Jewish ties to the site.
UNESCO chief Irina Bokova said last month that the Jewish and Christian connection to the site should not be denied. She told the IBTimes UK: "This is where we need to try to build trust among the Israelis and the Palestinians by invoking the meaning of Jerusalem and the need to protect its status as the birthplace of three monotheistic religions.
"We have to remind ourselves about the importance of such dramatic sites in the world which is the old part of Jerusalem."