Yesterday, I gave you two reasons why Israel will not be able to give East Jerusalem to the Palestinians. One was that the average Israeli wouldn’t stand for it. Two was that the Palestinian leadership would screw up the process, anyway.
But, there is a three.
Most people do not know that the JordanianÂ royal familyÂ is the caretaker of the Mosque al-Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. They finance the waqf (Islamic religious endowment)Â that pays for the renovations of the buildings and the salaries of the caretakersÂ for the buildings on the Temple Mount. Â
This might sound like a pretty upsetting arrangement to you.Â The idea that aÂ foreign monarchÂ could have so much influence over a place that is at the center of Jewish life… that the holiest site for both Judaism and Christianity is financed by a foreign power… that the capital of Israel would have a someone who once sought Israel’s destruction be allowed to manage the financial needs of the Har haBayit (Hebrew, Mount of the House)… I can imagine that this sounds both shocking and horrifying.
Let me horrify you some more by explaining whyÂ it is in Israel’s best interest to make sure thatÂ this arrangementÂ continues.
Firstly,Â having theÂ Hashemite royal family inÂ control of the Islamic functions of the al-Haram al-Sharif (Arabic, The Noble Sanctuary) keeps things moderate and far less politicized than it could be. The Jordanians do NOT want instability in the West Bank or in Jerusalem. Instability in Palestinian areas tends to spill over into Jordan.Â
Secondly, Israeli law rules everywhere on the Temple Mount, and in the rest of the Old City. From an Israeli perspective, whoever is paid to maintain Islamic buildings is meaningless, as long as no one causes any trouble.
However, a little bird told me that there is something far more important than all of that. Being the caretakers of the Al Aksa Mosque and Dome of the Rock isÂ an importantÂ raison d’etreÂ for the Jordanian royal family. I was told by a reliable source that if the Jordanian royal family were removed as caretakers of the Haram al-Sharif, they would fall from power in Jordan.
A part of me still struggles to believe it, but I am forced to admit that it does make aÂ certainÂ kind of backward sense.Â Arab society is heavy on symbolism. (Most centralized, repressive, non-democratic, patriarchal societies are.) So, when I was told that if the Hashemite monarchy loses control of the Temple Mount waqf… that they would be in a lot ofÂ trouble…
Well, I wasn’t going to discount it out of hand.
Why else would the late
King Hussein of Jordan have spent
$8.2Â million of his own money
to plate the dome in gold?
Let meÂ cut a long storyÂ short.Â If the Israeli government hands control of the Temple Mount over to local Palestinians, there could be serious and severe repercussions for the region. The Jordanian monarchy could lose one of its few claims to legitimacy, and itÂ could even contribute to its fall from power. In the resulting chaos, Syria, Hamas, Hizbullah, or some other Jihadist organization could gain power. No one wants that – no one sane, that is.
If it is true that the Temple Mount is vital to the stability of the Jordanian monarchy, this means thatÂ Israel will need to do everything that it can to ensure that the Jordanian royal familyÂ stays in control of the upkeep of the Temple Mount. And, the only way to do THAT is for Israel to STAY in control of the Temple Mount itself.Â
The alternative is unimaginable.