Hundreds of Arab rioters, some masked, threw stones and fired fireworks on the Temple Mount on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan (making for an intriguing “What I did on my Ramadan Vacation” report). At least one stone landed in the Kotel Plaza below, where Jews were engaged in the morning prayer. Police entered the Temple Mount compound and used tear gas and rubber bullets to repel the rioters. The Red Crescent reported that 12 were injured in the clashes.
Hundreds of rioters initiated violent riots on the Al-Aqsa compound this morning, throwing stones and setting off firecrackers.
Police were forced to enter the compound to disperse the violent crowd and to enable worshipers to leave safely.pic.twitter.com/9zlur6tzRg
— Israel Foreign Ministry (@IsraelMFA) April 29, 2022
The rioters waved a Hamas flag and sang: “Listen, you, Mahmoud Abbas / Palestine belongs to Hamas,” which stands to show you the true subtext of this well-planned violence and who is the real culprit.
— כאן חדשות (@kann_news) April 29, 2022
The recent Hamas-perpetrated riots in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque were a wake-up call for the Jordanians, who are seeing that their control is slipping. Jordan’s influence on what goes on in the compound has gradually weakened in the last two years, and the palace in Amman is concerned about further deterioration that would leave the conflict as part of Israel’s relationship with Hamas, the PA, and the king need not intervene. And that’s why Abdullah II is so invested in preventing further erosion of Jordan’s special status as the guardian of the holy places in Jerusalem.
But wait, there’s more subtext: Israel Hayom reported Friday morning that Israel has refused Jordan’s demand to be given a bigger role in controlling the Temple Mount, pressing Israel to return to the status quo before the year 2000, when the then-candidate for prime minister Ariel Sharon ascended to the mountaintop and declared it accessible to every Jew (Jordan, US, Pressuring Israel to Return to Pre-2000 Temple Mount Status Quo).
Given the tensions in its relations with Israel over the recent events on the Temple Mount, Amman understands that to prevent the collapse of its status in the eyes of PA Arabs, it must involve the Biden administration, which is only too eager to restrict Israel’s sovereignty in Jerusalem. And so, on Thursday, King Abdullah hosted a reception for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas at his palace, they discussed the situation on the Temple Mount, and the King boarded his plane and flew off for a series of working meetings in the United States.
A PA source told Israel Hayom that Jordan recently appointed dozens of new Waqf guards, but Israel refuses to admit them into the compound. The reason is that Israel first wants a list of the guards’ names to run them through a security check, but the Waqf is refusing.
The Jordanians will try to explain to the Americans that to bring calm to the mountain, the sides must stick to the understandings from 2014 that were proposed by then-Secretary of State John Kerry (remember him?), according to which only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, while members of other faiths may visit it but not hold prayers.
According to the same PA source, “the Jordanians are trying to convey to the Americans that Israel has violated these understandings, and that’s what led to the recent riots in al-Aqsa.”
At this point, it’s good to know that the Naftali Bennett government is not selling out Israel’s sovereignty on the Temple Mount (as MK Simcha Rothman of Religious Zionism suggested on Thursday). As far as American pressure goes – all Israel has to do is wait until the November midterm elections and pray for the Republicans to take control of both houses. Meanwhile, Bennett must stick to the tried and true adage: Don’t just do something, stand there.