The Israeli occupation soldiers, settlers and Jewish worshippers finding free access to Jerusalem’s Haram al Sharif compound while denying the Muslims their right to pray at the holy site is tantamount to “religious and intellectual terrorism,” politicians and lawmakers say.

They denounced Israel’s escalation and recurring provocations and assaults against the compound, one of Islam’s holiest shrines, and termed it a serious breach of international conventions and an affront to religious sentiments.

Jordan, as custodian of the Jerusalem holy sites, has recalled its ambassador to Tel Aviv for consultations over the latest breaches.

In a recent telephone talk with His Majesty King Abdullah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged not to alter the status quo in Jerusalem under which only Muslims are allowed to pray at the compound that houses the al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock mosque.

“Jordanian diplomacy has achieved a big success through its firm and tenacious stand against Israeli assaults that are in violation of the sanctity of the al Aqsa Mosque, and it stemmed from the King’s keenness to defend the Jerusalem shrines,” said Hazem Qashou’, president of the Al Resalah political party.

Qashou’ said the recall of the envoy was a pre-emptive political and diplomatic move, adding, “Jordanian diplomacy, led by King Abdullah, was able to clinch an apology from Netanyahu, who promised to observe international conventions and agreements it had signed and respect the Hashemite custody of the holy places.” He said Israeli actions and threats to divide the al Aqsa Mosque, and the world community’s remiss in reaching the two-state solution would feed terrorism and extremism and push the entire region into a conflagration.

People’s Democratic Party (Hashd) chief, Abla Abu Olbeh, said Israeli violations against the Jerusalem shrines were part of its attempts to Judaise the city, and had spiked to “an unprecedented” level that prompted Jordan to pull out the ambassador and lodge a complaint with the United Nations Security Council.

She urged the government to pursue its tough line, including the dismissal of the Israeli ambassador in Amman and abolishing the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty.

“Though too late, the (Israeli) ambassador’s recall was a welcome step”, said lawmaker Assaf Shoubaki, calling for a firm popular stance to back up the government’s stance to deter Israel.