Thursday, January 19, 2023

There was a brief international incident at the Temple Mount on Tuesday:

Jordan’s ambassador to Israel visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Tuesday after earlier leaving the holy site in protest at being held up by police at the entrance, prompting a diplomatic protest from Amman.

The Jordanian foreign ministry said it summoned Israel’s envoy Eitan Surkis after Ghassan Majali was allegedly “refused entry” to the Temple Mount. A statement from the ministry said Surkis was handed a letter of condemnation.

But Israeli police — and also Jordanian reports — indicated that rather than refusing him entry, cops briefly held him up since he hadn’t coordinated the visit with them.
The Jordanian Foreign Ministry issued a statement rejecting that visits of Jordanians to the site need to be coordinated with Israel:

The political advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Ambassador Ahmed Al-Deek, considered the statements of the Israeli spokesman a flagrant violation of the existing historical, political and legal situation in the mosque.

He noted that the attempt to justify the Jordanian Ambassador Ghassan Majali's objection to the reason for the absence of "prior coordination" is also a change in the legal status of the mosque.

Ambassador Al-Deek confirmed that the Islamic Endowments Department is exclusively responsible for organizing entry and exit to the mosque, and is also responsible for all mosque affairs and its courtyards, and that Muslims do not need any prior coordination or permission from the occupation police to enter the mosque.
So Jordan claims that Israeli demands for prior coordination is a new demand, and a violation of the status quo on the holy site.

Is that true? Of course not.

In 2012, Director of the Jordanian Public Security Lieutenant General Hussein Majali visited the site "under strict Israeli guard," Arab media reported. No one complained about that - the controversy about that visit is that one of the Israeli police was a woman whose hair was uncovered.

In 2013, Prince Hashem bin Al-Hussein, King Abdullah's brother, visited the Temple Mount, also "under the escort of Israeli security and police," entering through the Mughrabi Gate that visitors use. No one said a word about any violation of the status quo.

Because it was, and is, the status quo.

In 2021, however, Jordan started signaling they wanted to change the status quo. Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah canceled his planned visit to the Mount at the last minute because Israeli police were going to accompany him as he entered, and he felt that this was an insult. 

They didn't say at the time that Israel was violating the status quo, but that the existing status quo was unacceptable to them. (You may recall that Jordan briefly blocked Bibi Netanyahu from visiting the UAE by not giving his flight permission to cross their airspace, in a diplomatic temper tantrum.) 

This week's incident must be seen in that context.  Jordan wants to change the status quo, and how better to do that than to insist that Israel is violating the status quo? 

That's how gaslighting works, after all.



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