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Israeli politician heckles Jordanian foreign minister at UN
Published in Albawaba on 03 - 10 - 2015

Israel's rightwing deputy foreign minister heckled Jordan's foreign minister in a breach of diplomatic protocol during a speech at the UN over the issue of mounting tension around Jerusalem's al-Aqsa mosque.
According to sources widely quoted in the Israeli media, Tzipi Hotovely – Israel's most senior diplomat – made a series of incendiary remarks during a meeting of donor countries to the Palestinian Authority, which took place on the sidelines of the UN general assembly.
After Hotovely made her speech, she reportedly referred to how Jews who ascended to the Temple Mount – known to Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif and part of the wider site on which al-Aqsa stands – during the holiday of Sukkot were "blessed", before launching into criticism of "Palestinian incitement".
According to reports, Hotovely said: "The conflict will be resolved when the basic values of the Palestinian Authority change. As long as Palestinian children dream of becoming engineers ‘to blow up Jews,' none of these economic efforts will achieve their goal."
She also criticised the address to the UN made by the Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas, accusing him of incitement on the issue of the Temple Mount when he spoke of Israelis defiling the al-Aqsa Mosque with their boots.
Replying to Hotovely, Jordan 's foreign minister, Nasser Judeh, abandoned his own speech. "I have a written address but I don't plan to give it because I can't not respond to what we've heard from the Israeli representative," he said, according to Israeli daily Haaretz.
Referring to recent clashes at the religious site, Judeh said that when Israeli soldiers enter al-Aqsa with boots on it offends the 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world.
Sources said Hotovely had to be called to order as she interrupted Judeh during his address. According to the Jerusalem Post, she accused Judeh of "distorting history" and of following in the footsteps of the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in denying the existence of a Jewish temple at the holy site.
The heated exchange is just one of a number of events concerning al-Aqsa that have led to increasing diplomatic tensions between the two countries. Recent footage showing Israeli security forces entering the mosque, which is overseen by the Waqf – a religious institution under Jordan's control – was widely circulated several weeks ago. Hotovely's remarks also followed Netanyahu's own recriminatory speech to the UN on Thursday, in which hedenounced delegates for being "obsessively hostile" to Israel.
Hotovely, who is Israel's most senior diplomat in the absence of a foreign minister – a post retained by Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, – is no stranger to controversy. In a recent interview, she insisted that the prospect of Israel handing over parts of the West Bank to the Palestinians was not "even on the list of options we're offering".
The issue of violence around the issue of al-Aqsa was raised in speeches to the UN general assembly this week by Abbas, Netanyahu and King Abdullah of Jordan in a separate speech.
Abdullah told the assembly: "The Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem's Muslim and Christian sites is a sacred duty. We join Muslims and Christians everywhere in rejecting threats to the Arab character of this holy city."
Representatives of the United Nations Middle East Quartet also expressed their "deep concern" over the recent violence on Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, Segey Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, US secretary of state John Kerry and EU representative Federica Mogherini called upon all parties to "exercise restraint; refrain from provocative actions and rhetoric, and preserve unchanged the status quo at the holy sites in both word and practice."


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