Letter to Israel regarding the Temple Mount from the left side of my brain

Dear Israel,

If you hired a security company to guard your house, yet for years the company was aware that people continuously gathered on your front porch and threatened to kill you but did nothing about it, would you keep them or fire them?  That’s what I thought.

Then please help me understand why you keep Jordan as the custodian of the Temple Mount.  For years they have watched and enabled people to gather on your doorstep, the Temple Mount, threatening to kill you, and they have done nothing about it.

Why do you still let Jordan have any authority over the Temple Mount?  First of all, Jordan join other nations and tried to destroy you.  Not once, twice.  Second, when Jordan tried to destroy you, they lost.  Yet, to the loser went the spoils.  And not just any “spoils.”  The biggest “spoil” in Jewish history – the Temple Mount.  And in addition, as my initial questions pointed out, Jordan has continually let threats against you go unabated. 

You’re so smart Israel.  At least you usually are.  You are a country renowned for your ingenuity, intelligence, strength, and survival skills, yet when it comes to Jordan, you show little of who you are.  The dynamics of your relationship with Jordan endanger you, no longer represent what is best for you, and tragically led to the deaths of Master Sgt. Shnaan and Master Sgt. Sitawe.  In short, it’s past time to change your relationship status.  It’s time to tell Jordan, “You’re fired!”  And if you feel you need another reason to justify firing them, other than the deaths of your police officers, tell Jordan it’s because they have been breaking Article 9 of the 1994 peace treaty they signed with you.

In case you forgot or didn’t know, Article Nine states:

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

2.  In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects 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.

3. 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.

It can’t be left unsaid that you both are breaking requirement 1 of Article Nine.  Jews have been denied consistent freedom of access to the Temple Mount by both you, or at least by your government, and by Jordan for years.     

Whenever Jews are allowed access to the Mount, and significant numbers take advantage of this access, Jordan publicly complains that “Jewish extremists are storming” the Mount in order to take over al-Aqsa.  This incites Muslims to harass or kill Jews. 

Jordan also has a horrible record of not maintaining requirement 3 of Article 9. Examples of actions allowed on the Mount that are the antithesis to promoting “tolerance and peace” are:

Muslims hurl rocks and firecrackers from inside al-Aqsa Mosque to protest Jews on the Mount.

Muslims throw shoes and sticks at Jews, including children, on the Mount.

Muslims fly flags and banners representing terrorist organizations such as Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Islamic State on the Mount.

The Muslim Waqf hands out plastic packages of candy to children on the Mount. The packaging on the candy has the face of terrorists on it who have murdered Jews.

Hamas holds summer camps for children on the Mount.

When the three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped and killed by terrorists, Muslims on the Mount held up three fingers as a celebratory sign while following and harassing Jews.

Every Friday and Saturday the Mount is “cleaned” of non-Muslims.

Inflammatory, inciting, and overtly anti-Semitic sermons are given from inside al-Aqsa and/or from rallies held on the Mount.  Examples of incitement include a Tahrir Liberation Party rally.  The Tahrir Party is an international organization which focuses on turning al-Aqsa plaza as the starting point of a global caliphate. At one of their rallies on the Mount, a member declared, “Where is the Caliph of the Muslims?  Don’t you care that the Jews are defiling the place of the Prophet’s nocturnal journey with their filth?  The Jews are the most hostile people towards the believers.”  Another example is a Muslim cleric on the Mount calling Jews “the most evil of Allah’s creations . . . Who were turned into apes and pigs.”  He also said, “You will fight the Jews until the trees and stones will say, ‘There is a Jew behind me, come and kill him.’”

Jordan allowed Hamas to pay Muslims between NIS4000 to NIS 5000 a month to harass Jews on the Mount by screaming, cursing, pulling their hair, and/or throwing objects at them.   

A French non-Jewish tourist on the Mount was beaten up by Muslims because a souvenir he was holding had an Israeli flag on it.

Israel, all the above examples represent the reality of the “status quo” your government rushed to ensure Jordan and the world that it would maintain after the murder of the police officers.  It is a status quo that your government insists prevents terrorism and even war from occurring.  What an absurd, pathetic delusion your government maintains at your expense.

The status quo was partially initiated by the Religious Affairs Minister, Dr. Zerah Warhaftig, in 1967 who projected his fears that if Jews were allowed on or allowed to pray on the Temple Mount, Arabs would be “inflamed.”  Nevermind that your mere existence, that Israel being a Jewish state, is what inflames many Arabs.  There is nothing you, a Jew, can do to pacify or appease these kinds of people other than, God forbid, stop existing. 

For years Jordan has enabled anything but tolerance and peace on the Mount as required by Article 9.  Jordan is an irresponsible custodian.  Period.  And now that such a horrendous act of terrorism has occurred there, under their watch, they are thankless regarding Israel’s role of trying to ensure peace and security for all people on the Mount, stating that Israel’s actions of closing the Mount to Muslims is “defiling and destroying” and “causing harm.”

Israel, aren’t you sick of this deadly, pathetic, victimhood narrative and game that Jordan continues to play?  People were killed, yet Jordanian Waqf officials cry and warn against “any harm to al-Aqsa” and state that your efforts to prevent more violence against your own citizens is nothing but a “pretense.”  Jordanian officials also had the audacity to warn against any attempt “to alter the legal and historical status quo in Jerusalem.”  This, despite its own dismal failure at maintaining the real “status quo” the peace treaty calls for. 

It’s such a shame, Israel, that you have enabled Jordan to treat you horribly, and yet somehow you have simultaneously enabled Jordan to play the victim.  And much of the rest of the Arab world feeds off of your enablement as evidenced by the Arab League’s statement claiming that “banning Palestinians from praying will only inflame extremism and escalate tension” and that you have handled the situation with “carelessness.”  And unfortunately, many of you have jumped on this bandwagon of illogic by warning that Israel is inflaming Arabs by either keeping them off of the Mount or by installing metal detectors to prevent acts of terrorism on the Mount.  Once again, because Arabs are potentially inconvenienced after acts of terrorism committed by their own people, some of you rush to coddle them and pacify their anger over being inconvenienced. 

Even worse, your government jumps through hoops to assure the “status quo” will be maintained.  I can only hope and pray that enough of you wake up and elect leaders who will stop playing this deadly, pathetic game.  And that enough of you will demand, for your own sake and for the world’s sake, that the Temple Mount immediately be taken out of Jordan’s hands.


Camie Davis   

About the Author
Camie Davis is a non-Jewish writer and advocate for Israel.