Dear King…Sincerely, Prime Minister

In an interview with Makor Rishon’s Arnon Segal almost two years after the assassination attempt on her husband Yehuda Glick, Yaffa (Yaffi) Glick, who died recently after suffering a stroke, recalled a phone call she received two days after the shooting which took place outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem.  The attempted murder occurred at the end of the annual event by Temple Mount activists to mark the day the Rambam ascended to the Temple Mount in 1165 CE.

The call came from the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu. According to Yaffi, she expressed appreciation for his words of comfort but then added, and using the phrase in the Book of Esther 4:14, ‘who knows whether you have not come to royal status for such a time as this?, “you now have full justification to grant freedom of worship to Jewsd on the Temple Mount…All acknowledge that a watershed line has been crossed and you have complete legitimacy to make the change for otherwise, salvation and relief will come from another.”

The following is my version of a letter that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could adapt and edit as he wishes to be sent across the River Jordan.

——

“His Royal Majesty King Abdallah II, Son of Hussein ibn Tal

Amman, Jordan

His Eminence,

I write to you this letter to inform you that I am setting into process a major policy decision to alter the status quo that Moshe Dayan decided upon in 1967 and which all Israel’s governments have promoted and adhered to since that time as regards the Temple Mount.

I am well aware that on October 24, 2015 I said the following:

Israel re-affirms its commitment to upholding unchanged the status quo of the Temple Mount, in word and in practice…Israel has no intention to divide the Temple Mount, and we completely reject any attempt to suggest otherwise. We respect the importance of the special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as reflected in the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, and the historical role of King Abdullah II. Israel will continue to enforce its longstanding policy: Muslims pray on the Temple Mount; non-Muslims visit the Temple Mount.”

I am also cognizant that some see any alteration as quite problematic and that any change would even be dangerous.

However, I also must take into account Jordan’s actions since then as well as those elements of the Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty which Jordan appears to violate, constantly. These all are inconsistent with the upholding of the status quo and I will not continue a one-sided reality. Let me remind you that my above statement also contained this:

We welcome increased coordination between the Israeli authorities and the Jordanian Waqf, including to ensure that visitors and worshippers demonstrate restraint and respect for the sanctity of the area, and all this in accordance with the respective responsibilities of the Israelis authorities and the Jordanian Waqf. We support the call for the immediate restoration of calm, and for all the appropriate steps to be taken to ensure that violence ceases, that provocative actions are avoided, and that the situation returns to normalcy in a way that promotes the prospects for peace. We look forward to working cooperatively to lower tensions, stop incitement and discourage violence.”

This has not been so forthcoming.  Indeed, Jordan’s 50-year history since 1967 as regards that status quo has not been adequate enough to my sorrow. Israel’s commitment to and preservation of that status quo, however, has been extraordinary, given the circumstances. Jordan’s quid pro quo has been disappointing. As one researcher has noted:

Realties on the ground have replaced the old status quo while greatly enhancing the status of Muslims on the Temple Mount and their control over the compound, compared to arrangements crystallized immediately after the Six-Day War. This reality has deeply eroded the status of Jews and the State of Israel on the Temple Mount.”

Consider these points:

At that October 2015 meeting, with John Kerry present, we agreed that cameras would be affixed to walls and buildings inside the Temple Mount to provide real-time surveillance, and also proof of criminal activity if it occurs.  This would help dispel charges of Israel being either negligent or responsibility for violence, despite what I told you.

The action was backtracked by you by first demanding that the feed be directed to Amman only and the that the cameras needed to be on the walls overlooking the compound, thereby defeating the whole purpose.  In the end, you complied with the Palestinian Authority’s demand to refuse to affix those cameras.

Your official media outlets adopt inciting language such as “Jews/Settlers storming” or “break in” or “extremists” (here on December 20th last and multiple times previously.). You know that is untrue and yet you permit it.

Jordan’s advancement of anti-Israel decisions in international bodies, their promotion by you personally and voting for them, denying Israel’s historical connection to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, is a hypocritical pretense I will not tolerate any longer. Accusing Israel of falsification is abhorrent.

On your own Royal Jordanian web site I find you have been identifying Dennis Rohan who set fire to Al-Aqsa in 1969 as a Jew! An “extremist Jew”!

Archaeological damage is being done by the Waqf which is supported by Jordanian money.  Waqf guards act violently.

I am aware that in its reports on Human Rights, the State Department includes material on the Temple Mount in the country category of “Occupied Territories”, as if Jerusalem is not in Israel. I am working to change that.

But I wish to remind you of the contents of Article 9 in the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty my predecessor, the late Yitzhak Rabin signed together with your father, the late King Hussein in 1994.  Here are the relevant words:

ARTICLE 9

PLACES OF HISTORICAL AND RELIGIOUS SIGNIFICANCE

Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance

In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.

Jordan consistently has violated the letter and spirt of that peace treaty element.

And yes, there is a middle sub-section which mentions the “the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.” Nevertheless, if we are to reach a mutually-agreed definition of what “priority” means, it would behoove you and your government to act properly and commensurate with that treaty.

I read now that Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told the EU’s  Federica Mogherini that the Arab countries that opposed the US’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had reached a consensus on working together with the international community to recognize the Palestinian state on the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital. Can I remind you that Jordan’s behavior between 1948-1967 as regards Jerusalem, including the desecration by your country’s army of many tens and thousands of Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives and the refusal to act according to the terms of the Armistice Agreement allowing for freedom of access to Jewish holy sites, really does not gain you much credit if indeed Jerusalem will not be under continued Israeli control.

Your Excellency, the policy of maintain the Dayan status quo is a fake policy as it has been kept but one-sidedly. An additional two mosques have been constructed there. Massive earthworks have been done. Limitations on days that non-Muslims can enter have been extended and added. Jews cannot visit on Saturdays as they did. The incitement campaigns led by the Waqf, by Jordanian media as well as radical Islamist elements abroad and in Israel all indicate that the status quo is not honored by the Arab Muslims.  Here is a line from your own official web site:

The Hashemites have stood up against Zionist claims to Jerusalem, which pose a direct threat to the Arab city and its cultural heritage.

And there you claim that “great damage [was caused] to Al Haram Al Sharif in Jerusalem” in 1948, which isn’t true.

Your signing of the March 2013 agreement was painful. You unilaterally entered into that agreement without proper consultation with me.  It amazingly extends the area of the Haram compound to include portions outside the location, so: “Waqf properties tied-up to Al Masjid Al Aqsa, to its environs or to its pilgrims” (Paragraph C of the Preamble).

May I point pout to you that that agreement is made not only with the Palestinian Authority but with a terrorist group, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, which was formed in 1964 and whose sole intent is to eradicate Israel as at that time, Israel did not control the areas of Judea and Samaria but rather your father did!

I have not fully decided on the steps I will take. I am contemplating an archaeological dig, especially in light of the words of Mahmoud Abbas doubting any archaeological confirmation of the existence of our Two Temples. I might upon the compound to Saturday visits that used to be.

I will certainly be augmenting the police force so that an event such as today’s does not happen again. And yes, all maintenance work requires Israel’s authorization.

All people of faith, Muslims, Christians and Jews, should be able to pay respect to and benefit from the holiness and sacredness of the Temple Mount.”

About the Author
Yisrael Medad, currently is a Research Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem and Deputy Editor of the English Language Anthology of Jabotinsky's Writings. American-born, he and his wife made Aliyah in 1970. He resides in Shiloh since 1981. He was a member of the Betar Youth Movement World Executive and is a volunteer spokesperson for the Yesha Council. He holds a MA in Political Science from the Hebrew University and is active is many Zionist and Jewish projects and initiatives.
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