QASR EL-YAHUD, West Bank (AP) — Israel opened the traditional baptism site of Jesus to daily visits Tuesday, a move that required the cooperation of Israel's military and the removal of nearby mines in the West Bank along the border with Jordan.So Jordan is complaining to the Vatican.
The location, where many believe John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the waters of the Jordan River, is one of the most important sites in Christianity.
Until now, it was opened several times a year in coordination with the Israeli military, but because of its sensitive location, it had not been regularly open to the public since Israel captured the site from Jordan, along with the rest of the West Bank, in the 1967 Mideast war.
Jordan maintains that its site on the other side of the river is the actual place were Jesus was baptized, competing for Christian tourism.
In a statement, Jordanian officials said that Israel's move was meant to provoke Jordan, that Israel has no right to open up the site in an area that is "occupied," and that a Vatican official has already said that the site was on the Jordanian side.