In a wide-ranging interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson on Connect the World, Jordanian Foreign Minister  Ayman Safadi says today’s escalation on the Israeli-Lebanese border is “obviously a consequence, a reaction to what we saw happening in al-Aqsa [mosque].”


“Israel is pushing us all into the abyss of violence, making it impossible to engage in all that we have been talking about in terms regional cooperation to better the lives of everyone,” Safadi said. “We are at the exact moment, a dangerous moment which we worked for months to avoid.”


He added: “We’ve always said that respecting Palestinian rights for freedom of worship, allowing people to worship freely and not storming al-Aqsa will prevent us from eruption of violence…unfortunately Israel did the exact opposite.”


Key quotes from Jordanian FM Ayman Safadi:


On how the rocket fired from Lebanon into Israel and police raids at al-Aqsa are connected:

“The two are obviously interconnected. We are unfortunately at a dangerous moment which we’ve worked to avoid, a moment where violence is erupting. What we see unfolding on the Lebanese border is obviously a reaction to what we saw happening in al-Aqsa. It is the outcome of the unprovoked Israeli aggression on peaceful worshippers performing their religious duty. It’s almost déjà vu. You cannot do the same thing and expect a different reaction. We’ve always said that respecting Palestinians right to freedom of worship will prevent us from getting to the eruption in violence. Unfortunately Israel did the exact opposite.”


On the potential for escalation:

We are extremely concerned. We’ve been worrying that if a spark is provided to what already exists in Palestine as a result of the absence of political horizon and continued pressure on Palestinians, violence could spiral out of control.”


On what comes next:

What happens next really depends on what Israel does. If it stops its aggressions on worshippers, upholds the status quo, and allows Palestinians, Muslim and Christians to pray freely, then we’ll have calm. If not, then everything we’ve done over the past few months will be cannibalised by events on the ground. If Israel does not allow the radical agenda advocated by some of the members of government then maybe we have chance of restoring calm. If it does not I think we will see the situation escalate in a very dangerous way.”


On Israeli police statement on the raids:

“I think the images and pictures that the whole world show deny this narrative. Worshippers were doing their religious duties peacefully. Hundreds of Israeli police stormed into al-Aqsa, vandalised the place and left. This is not the first time it has happened, it happened before. Nobody can take away that right from worshippers. What business does Israel have storming in and preventing people from worshipping? Becky, when you put someone who was convicted by Israel itself who was convicted for racist incitement who was a member of an organisation that the US has categorised as a terrorist organisation, if you put this person in charge of the police force… I don’t need to say any more.”


On violation of status quo agreement with Jordan:

“[Israel’s actions at al-Aqsa and police presence] absolutely does violate the status quo agreement with Jordan.”


On the outcomes of Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh:

What we engaged in with the US, Egypt and with Israel was an effort to avoid this exact moment and restore political horizon so we can move towards achieving lasting peace. The Aqaba and Sharm El-Sheikh as political products were significant, but actions on the ground are rendering them void of any meaning. Israel is pushing us all into the abyss of violence, making it it impossible to engage in all that we have been talking about in terms regional cooperation to better the lives of everyone.”


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