Jordan Is Fomenting Violence on the Temple Mount

April 11 2023

Last week, as thousands of Muslims gathered for peaceful Ramadan prayers at al-Aqsa, some 350 young men barricaded themselves in the mosque with firecrackers and large rocks, refusing to evacuate upon the request of authorities. Police then forcibly removed them to prevent further escalation and desecration of the holy site, creating a violent scene then used to stoke riots in Gaza and some parts of Israel. Benny Avni examines the role played by King Abdullah of Jordan:

Defying expectation for violence, prayers at Jerusalem’s holy sites since the start of Ramadan, on March 22, went on with no incident until Wednesday. So why would the Hashemite king, a close ally of America and Israel, issue a call to “defend” the mosque even before violence erupted? Why was his language so similar to that of Hamas agitators and other Iran-funded terrorist groups?

Amman enjoys the fruits of the peace treaty Jordan signed with Israel in 1994. So does Israel. Beside security cooperation, which helps to secure the Hashemite palace in an often-restive Palestinian-majority country, Israel supplies much of Jordan’s energy and water needs. Yet, “Every Ramadan, like clockwork, we see the Hashemite kingdom coming with vitriol” like this week’s statement, a Mideast watcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Jonathan Schanzer, tells the Sun.

On issues related to the Temple Mount, Jordan is too often the problem, rather than the solution. Beyond bromide State Department statements calling on all sides to maintain calm, Washington would do well to remind Amman of the benefits of relations with Israel, and tell King Abdullah to cool his overly heated rhetoric.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jordan, Temple Mount, U.S. Foreign policy


Why President Biden Needs Prime Minister Netanyahu as Much as Netanyahu Needs Biden

Sept. 28 2023

Last Wednesday, Joe Biden and Benjamin Netanyahu met for the first time since the former’s inauguration. Since then, Haim Katz, Israel’s tourism minister, became the first Israeli cabinet member to visit Saudi Arabia publicly, and Washington announced that it will include the Jewish state in its visa-waiver program. Richard Kemp, writing shortly after last week’s meeting, comments:

Finally, a full nine months into Benjamin Netanyahu’s latest government, President Joe Biden deigned to allow him into his presence. Historically, American presidents have invited newly installed Israeli prime ministers to the White House shortly after taking office. Even this meeting on Wednesday, however, was not in Washington but in New York, on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly.

Such pointed lack of respect is not the way to treat one of America’s most valuable allies, and perhaps the staunchest of them all. It is all about petty political point-scoring and interfering in Israel’s internal democratic processes. But despite his short-sighted rebuke to the state of Israel and its prime minister, Biden actually needs at least as much from Netanyahu as Netanyahu needs from him. With the 2024 election looming, Biden is desperate for a foreign-policy success among a sea of abject failures.

In his meeting with Netanyahu, Biden no doubt played the Palestinian issue up as some kind of Saudi red line and the White House has probably been pushing [Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman] in that direction. But while the Saudis would no doubt want some kind of pro-forma undertaking by Israel for the sake of appearances, [a nuclear program and military support] are what they really want. The Saudis’ under-the-table backing for the original Abraham Accords in the face of stiff Palestinian rejection shows us where its priorities lie.

Israel remains alone in countering Iran’s nuclear threat, albeit with Saudi and other Arab countries cheering behind the scenes. This meeting won’t have changed that. We must hope, however, that Netanyahu has been able to persuade Biden of the electoral benefit to him of settling for a historic peace between Israel and Saudi Arabia rather than holding out for the unobtainable jackpot of a two-state solution.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Joseph Biden, Saudi Arabia, U.S.-Israel relationship