The Jordanian government has issued a response to violence on the Temple Mount Sunday – condemning not the Muslim rioters themselves but the Jewish visitors they were attempting to attack.
In a statement issued Sunday afternoon Jordanian Information Minister Mohammed el-Mumini condemned what he described as the "storming" of Al Aqsa Mosque by "Jewish settlers," headed by Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home), and describing the Jewish presence as "harming the sanctity of Al Aqsa."
El-Mumini called on the State of Israel to "take responsibility" and prevent any such instances occurring in future.
Ariel was indeed among several Israeli lawmakers and dozens of Jewish visitors allowed onto the Temple Mount – Judaism's holiest site – on Sunday, in honor of the Fast of Av, during which Jews mourn the destruction of the two Holy Temples which once stood on the Mount.
But none of the groups went inside the mosque at all. Palestinian and other Arab media outlets regularly refer to peaceful Jewish visits to the Mount – which are heavily regulated due to Muslim pressure – as "settlers storming" the Al Aqsa Mosque.
There were, however, violent confrontations between Muslim rioters and Israeli police, which began when police received credible intelligence that Islamist groups had been preparing weapons, rocks and other missiles for use in attacks against Israeli civilians and security forces.
A number of Muslim youths had barricaded themselves inside the Al Asqa Mosque, after having collected rocks, wooden boards and planks, and fireworks to make firebombs in preparations for attacks against Israel Police, as well as to disrupt those visiting the Temple Mount for Tisha B'Av.
They used shoe racks, steel bars, and ropes to block doors to the Al Aqsa Mosque from being closed – also in preparation for a violent confrontation with police officers.
As Police and Border Patrol forces, under the command of Jerusalem District Commander Moshe Edri, entered the Temple Mount compound, masked rioters fled into mosque, from where they threw dozens of rocks and cements blocks at the police.
They also shot fireworks and sprayed the security forces with an unidentified fluid, lightly injuring four of the policeman.
Despite the escalating violence, police managed to prevent further injuries by closing the doors of the mosque, with the rioters trapped inside, and restoring quiet to the Temple Mount, allowing visitors to enter.