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Jordan Closes Tomb of Prophet Harun in Petra after Israeli Tourist Transgressions

Jordan Closes Tomb of Prophet Harun in Petra after Israeli Tourist Transgressions

Saturday, 3 August, 2019 - 07:00
Tomb of Prophet Harun in Petra. Asharq Al-Awsat
Amman - Mohammed Kheir Al-Rawashdeh

The Jordanian authorities decided to close the Tomb of Prophet Harun in Petra, south of Jordan, after a video of Israeli tourists holding religious service in the place emerged on social media in contravention with visitor instructions.

Social media activists shared the video of the tourists, spurring a chain of comments on holding accountable anyone responsible for these transgressions.

The Tomb overlooks the West Bank and is a registered heritage of the historic city Perta, which is classified among the Seven Wonders of the World.

Upon the leakage of the footage and photos, Jordan’s Minister of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places Dr. Abdul Nasser Abu al-Basal chose to hand over the keys of the Tomb to Maan Awqaf Directorate and not allow any visitor to enter it without approval.

In an official statement, Jordan said the decision to close the holy site was made because of the “illegal entrance of the tourists, without the knowledge of the Ministry.”

The statement issued a condemnation of the group's behavior and said that an investigation of the incident will be launched.

Parliament member Ibrahim al-Badour told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that such practices would provoke locals, stressing the necessity of holding accountable officials who have allowed the violations to take place.

While he backed the Awqaf minister's decision to close the Tomb, he warned against such violations that might have led to tension with the area’s residents who reject any form of normalization with Israel, which they still view as an occupation.

The closure of the Tomb comes amid a national rejection of a movie that US production companies sought to shoot in Petra. The story claims that Jews lived in southern Jordan, and a huge number of them resided in Petra.

The film “Jaber” aims to claim that the sacred land to Jews is not only Israel and Palestine but also Jordan.

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