Jordan returns its ambassador to Israel, cites steps to ease tensions on Temple Mount

Jordan's King Abdullah walks with Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuJordan’s King Abdullah walks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Jordan is returning its ambassador to Israel after he had been recalled in November over the Temple Mount issue.

Jordanian government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani said Israel had taken ‘’significant steps to ease tensions’’ and had lifted restrictions on Muslim worshipers at the holy site in Jerusalem.

Jordan’s King Abdullah is the official custodian of the site, the third holiest in Islam and also the location of the holiest place in Judaism.

“We noticed in the last period a significant improvement in Haram al-Sharif with numbers of worshipers reaching unprecedented levels,” Momani said. Haram al-Sharif, known in Judaism as Temple Mount, is where al Aksa mosque is located.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the Jordanian decision, calling it “an important step that reflects Israeli-Jordanian joint interests, first and foremost stability, security and peace.”

The Temple Mount became a source of friction between Israel and the Palestinians, with Palestinians frequently clashing with police in protests against Jewish visitors to the compound and Israeli politicians calling for Jews to be allowed to pray there in a change to the status quo, which allows only Musim worship on the site.

Ambassador Walid Obeidat was recalled in November shortly after the Temple Mount was closed to Muslim worshipers for a day in the aftermath of the terrorist shooting attack against right-wing Israeli activist Yehuda Glick.

During the period of violence, Netanyahu met with Jordan’s King Abdullah and US Secretary of State John Kerry, vowing that Israel had no intention of changing the status quo and appealing for calm.