Islamists say Jordan must freeze peace deal with Israel

A picture taken on November 11, 1997 shows right-wing Israeli politician Moshe Feiglin standing outside a Jerusalem court before his trial for sedition.

AMMAN - Jordan's opposition Islamists called on the government to freeze a 1994 peace treaty with Israel as the Knesset was Tuesday to debate Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

"We urge the government to meet the demands of people who have repeatedly called for freezing and eventually cancelling the peace treaty," the Islamic Action Front (IAF) said on its website.

The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, is due to debate in the evening a bill introduced by MP Moshe Feiglin, a hardline member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, which envisages the "application of Israeli sovereignty" over Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

No vote is envisaged at the end of debate. Netanyahu is opposed to the bill and commentators say it is unlikely to attract much support.

But the IAF, political arm of Jordan's branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and main opposition party, said the planned debate "proves that Jordanian policies in dealing with the enemy (Israel) have failed."

Under the peace treaty, Jordan is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

"The custodianship is a Jordanian national interest and a sacred religious duty," said the IAF.

Jordanian officials were not immediately available for comment.

The IAF statement came as Israeli police early Tuesday entered the compound to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters, with an Israeli police spokesman speaking of "high tension".

The Al-Aqsa compound, which lies in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem's Old City, is a flashpoint because of its significance to both Muslims and Jews.

Sitting above the Western Wall plaza, it houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques and is Islam's third-holiest site.

It is also Judaism's holiest place, as it was the site of the first and second Jewish temples.

Earlier this month a panel of Jordanian MPs warned that "Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa represent a red line".

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