Jordan recalls envoy to Israel over Jerusalem holy sites "violations"

Israeli security forces walk near Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam but also the most sacred place in Judaism on Nov 5, 2014. Jordan on Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Israel
Israeli security forces walk near Jerusalem's Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam but also the most sacred place in Judaism on Nov 5, 2014. Jordan on Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest against what it described as Israeli "violations" in Jerusalem and its holy sites, the Jordanian state news agency reported. -- PHOTO: AFP

AMMAN (Reuters, AFP) - Jordan on Wednesday recalled its ambassador to Israel in protest against what it described as Israeli "violations" in Jerusalem and its holy sites, the Jordanian state news agency reported.

The decision was taken "in protest at the increasing and unprecedented Israeli escalation in the Noble Sanctuary, and the repeated Israeli violations of Jerusalem", the news agency said.

Separately, a government spokesman said Jordan will lodge a formal complaint with the UN Security Council over Israeli's actions.

The Jordanian prime minister had instructed Jordan's delegation at the United Nations to "lodge an official complaint to the Security Council", Mohammad Al-Momani, government spokesman, told Reuters by telephone.

The Noble Sanctuary is the Islamic term used to describe the compound housing Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock - the third holiest site in Islam - in east Jerusalem's Old City. The site is known to Jews as the Temple Mount and is the holiest site in Judaism.

Al-Aqsa has been a rallying point for Palestinian resistance to perceived Jewish attempts to take control of it, sparking clashes between demonstrators and Israeli police for the past several months.

Jordan, which administered east Jerusalem and the West Bank before Israel seized the Palestinian territories in the 1967 Middle East war, has responsibility for holy sites in the Israeli-annexed eastern sector.

Jordan and Israel signed a peace agreement in 1994 in which Jordan's status as custodian of the sites is enshrined.

Jordan's King Abdullah II vowed on Sunday to oppose any Israeli attempt to change the status of Muslim or Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

"Jordan will continue to confront, through all available means, Israeli unilateral policies and measures in Jerusalem and preserve its Muslim and Christian holy sites, until peace is restored to the land of peace," the king said in a speech.