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

February 14, 2023 | David M. Weinberg
About the author: David M. Weinberg is a writer and lobbyist on defense, diplomatic, and Jewish affairs, and a former senior advisor to the Tikvah Fund in Israel. He also is a widely published kosher wine enthusiast.

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.

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