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

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


Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security