The Waqf, a.ka. Council of Endowments and Islamic Affairs and Holy Places in Al-Quds Al-Sharif, held its first session on Monday, after being “reconfigured” by the Presidency of the Jordanian Council of Ministers, according to the Jordan-based Husna FM radio station.
The Israeli Har HaBait website reported on Tuesday (דרמה: ירדן משתלטת מחדש על מועצת הוואקף ומסלקת את הפלסטינים) that just two years after Jordan had taken the dramatic step of loosening its grip on the Temple Mount by placing local representatives on the Waqf Council, it is once again changing direction, adding Jordanian members to the charity group that controls the Temple Mount, removing PA Arabs, increasing the size of the council (from 18 to 23) – a move that makes it weaker, and transforming the Waqf from a local council governing the sanctuary into a Jordanian-government entity.
“The council discussed topics related to the affairs of the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Islamic endowments, and arrangements for the blessed month of Ramadan, and took the appropriate decisions,” the Jordanian radio station reported.
According to Har HaBait, citing Safa News and Husna FM, the two key members to be ousted were Hatem Abdel Qader, a leader of the Fatah movement, and Mazen Sinokrot, a former PA economy minister and a Jerusalem businessman whose company makes Israeli-inspired snacks (Bamba).
Har HaBait suggests that the complete transformation came in response to the hyper-activism of the Waqf, which, at its first meeting two years ago decided—under pressure from the PA members—to invade the Mercy Gate to the Temple Mount compound. Since then, this Waqf council has been challenging the Jordanian crown, which preferred a more peaceful management of the Temple Mount sanctuary.