Jordan could be increasing the number of guards at the Al Aqsa mosque by almost 50% after some members of the parliament signed a petition demanding that the third holiest site in Islam be safe from “settlers” in reference to Jewish settlers.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II is the official custodian of the sacred compound where Al aqsa mosque is located and has been tasked with the preservation of the mosque under the agreement signed between the Palestinian Authority and Jordan.
The Jordanian Minister for Sacred Properties and Islamic Holy Sites, Hael Daud, said 52 MPs out of 150 signed a letter urging the government “to protect Al Aqsa and the holy sites to Islam” from “attacks by settlers.” The Kingdom already has 300 Waqf guards at the compound and the minister hinted that another 200 could be sent to join them.
The parliamentarians demanded that if the government “is not training the guards” for the mission, it could “send Jordanian military personnel along with civilian guards.”
The implementation of their demands is not expected to be swift as Daud stated that the kingdom’s general and armed forces policies have to be taken into consideration as well as official and diplomatic procedures.
There have been clashes in and around Al-aqsa compound between protesters and Israeli forces.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh warned Israel in November 2014 that “Jerusalem is a red line” after accusing it of violating the compound’s premises.
Daud said Jordan is relentlessly trying to protect the Arab and Islamic nature of Al Aqsa despite the challenges that it is facing. The kingdom is also responsible for 850 officials in Jerusalem, including the 300 Al Aqsa guards.