The King of Jordan Should Help to Restore Calm on the Temple Mount

Feb. 14 2023

After the Israeli cabinet minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s visit to the Temple Mount last month, the Jordanian government condemned this peaceful tour of the area as the “storming of al-Aqsa mosque and violation of its sanctity,” while the U.S., the UK, and other Western countries cautioned Jerusalem against doing anything that might “inflame tensions” (as one diplomat put it). No such admonitions, however, have been issued to King Abdullah of Jordan, observes David M. Weinberg:

Standing beside every world leader he possibly can, and when meeting Israeli prime ministers too, the Jordanian king Abdullah defiantly declares his self-anointed “custodianship” over the Temple Mount and “all holy sites” in Jerusalem. Let’s leave aside for the moment the fact that no Jordanian “custodianship” or “jurisdiction” in Jerusalem ever has been agreed to by Israel nor does it exist in any international accord. All Israel acknowledges is that the Hashemite kingdom has a “special role” to play on the Temple Mount.

One would think that “special role” would mean that Jordan has special responsibility to help maintain the site as a holy place of prayer, brotherhood, and tolerance. At a minimum, one would expect the Jordanians to do everything possible to help keep the peace by blocking attempts to turn the site into ground zero for violent Arab insurrection, wild Palestinian rioting, and the most anti-Semitic and genocidal anti-Israel incitement.

Alas, the Jordanians have done no such thing. . . . Using al-Aqsa as a base for physical assaults on Israel (like storing weapons) and as a platform for the ugliest education about the evils of Jews and Israel is not an occasional thing. It has become the Jordanian-sponsored standard of behavior on the Temple Mount. This has been the contribution of Jordan’s much-ballyhooed “special role” condition.

It is not like King Abdullah can’t control things if he wanted to. I can assure you that not a single word of criticism against Abdullah is heard on the Temple Mount from any Palestinian preacher, just as not a single mild word of criticism against Abdullah is allowed out of the mouths of any sermonizer in mosques across Jordan. . . . But apparently at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem no such censorship exists. At the most sensitive, explosive, holy site in the world, everything goes, especially anti-Semitic and genocidal anti-Israel incitement—under the allegedly benevolent and hypothetically moderate watch of King Abdullah of Jordan.

Read more at David M. Weinberg

More about: Al-Aqsa Mosque, Jordan, King Abdullah, Temple Mount


The U.S. Is Trying to Seduce Israel into Accepting a Bad Deal with Iran. Israel Should Say No

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released its quarterly report on the Iranian nuclear program. According to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security, the Islamic Republic can now produce enough weapons-grade uranium to manufacture “five nuclear weapons in one month, seven in two months, and a total of eight in three months.” The IAEA also has reason to believe that Tehran has further nuclear capabilities that it has successfully hidden from inspectors. David M. Weinberg is concerned about Washington’s response:

Believe it or not, the Biden administration apparently is once again offering the mullahs of Tehran a sweetheart deal: the release of $10 billion or more in frozen Iranian assets and clemency for Iran’s near-breakout nuclear advances of recent years, in exchange for Iranian release of American hostages and warmed-over pious Iranian pledges to freeze the Shiite atomic-bomb program.

This month, intelligence photos showed Iran again digging tunnels at its Natanz nuclear site—supposedly deep enough to withstand an American or Israeli military strike. This tells us that Iran has something to hide, a clear sign that it has not given up on its quest for a nuclear bomb.

Meanwhile, Antony Blinken today completes a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia, where he is reportedly pressing the kingdom to enter the Abraham Accords. This is no coincidence, for reasons Weinberg explains:

Washington expects Israeli acquiescence in the emerging U.S. surrender to Iran in exchange for a series of other things important to Israel. These include U.S. backing for Israel against escalated Palestinian assaults expected this fall in UN forums, toning down U.S. criticism regarding settlement and security matters (at a time when the IDF is going to have to intensify its anti-terrorist operations in Judea and Samaria), an easing of U.S. pressures on Israel in connection with domestic matters (like judicial reform), a warm Washington visit for Prime Minister Netanyahu (which is not just a political concession but is rather critical to Israel’s overall deterrent posture), and most of all, significant American moves towards reconciliation with Saudi Arabia (which is critical to driving a breakthrough in Israeli-Saudi ties).

[But] even an expensive package of U.S. “concessions” to Saudi Arabia will not truly compensate for U.S. capitulation to Iran (something we know from experience will only embolden the hegemonic ambitions of the mullahs). And this capitulation will make it more difficult for the Saudis to embrace Israel publicly.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Antony Blinken, Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship