Two years after he was almost assassinated at event calling for right to pray at Judaism’s holiest site, Yehuda Glick is now a Likud MK, and his cause has entered the halls of power
On Monday, the Temple Mount activists ascended to the Knesset. They came by the dozens to attend the Dorshei Zion organization’s annual conference, which coincides with the anniversary of a visit by the Jewish sage Maimonides to the holy site 851 years ago. And they came to celebrate the recovery of former activist Yehuda Glick, who was shot four times by a Palestinian terrorist outside the organization’s convention in Jerusalem two years ago to the day, according to the Hebrew calendar.
Monday’s conference was the first to be held in Israel’s parliament and was organized in coordination with Glick, now an energetic Likud MK, who has arguably done more than anybody else of late to inject the subject of Jewish prayer rights at the volatile, sacred compound into public discourse.
Once a fringe issue, Temple Mount activism has in recent years become increasingly mainstream in Israeli Orthodox circles, even as Palestinians attributed the year-long wave of terror attacks to their public’s anger at ostensible imminent changes by Israel to arrangements on the holy site, which Israel firmly denies planning.
The growing popularity of the movement appeared to be corroborated by the location of Monday’s conference, in the heart of Israel’s political realm, and the appeals issued by ministers from the governing Likud and right-wing Jewish Home parties for greater access to the site. Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Glick also used the event to announce the launch of a new Temple Mount lobby in the Knesset.
The at-times quirky, at-times emotive event also featured a history lesson from a self-proclaimed “Quranic Zionist” sheikh and awards given to Israel’s public security minister, to the mother of 13-year-old terror victim Hallel Ariel, who was stabbed to death in her bed in June, and to a young activist who was recently detained by police — after attempting to carry out a ritual Passover sacrifice on the Mount.
‘Open the gates’
Formerly a frequent visitor to the compound, before a year-long ban on lawmakers visiting the site was implemented, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) used his address at the Monday gathering to implore Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “open the gates” to the Temple Mount for Jewish worshipers where, under the status quo agreement with its Jordanian custodians, non-Muslims may visit but may not pray.
“Open the gates to the Temple Mount,” urged Ariel. “End the disgrace, end the wretchedness, end the lack of sovereignty.”
The Jewish Home minister also touched on the ongoing ban preventing him and the other legislators from visiting the site, telling audience members he was “jealous” of them.
“Unfortunately, the prime minister’s advisers and he himself are preventing it, unjustly, wrongly,” he added.
Ariel, who was filmed reciting a prayer on the Mount last October, was preceded on the stage by his fellow party member, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben Dahan, who also called for the government to change the status quo. In his previous position as deputy minister of religious affairs, Ben Dahan prepared regulations on Jewish prayer at the site, he said. “The government of Israel must adopt the regulations as soon as possible,” he declared.
In her remarks, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said Israel’s Foreign Ministry would begin gifting foreign dignitaries with archaeological finds from the nearby City of David, in the wake of the recent UNESCO resolutions that ignored Jewish ties to the holy site, and in the run-up to the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War in which Israel captured the Old City and the Temple Mount.
“I urge everyone who has not ascended to the Temple Mount to visit the Temple Mount,” said Hotovely.
Her fellow Likud MKs — including Edelstein, Jerusalem Minister Ze’ev Elkin, and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan — were more tempered in their support, lavishing praise on Glick and supporting Jewish prayer at the site, but stopping short of endorsing a change to the status quo.
Accepting an award from the organization for his efforts to improve the situation at the contested site, Erdan said the issue was “very, very complicated, and very explosive.”
Distinguishing between his personal views on the subject and his professional responsibilities, Erdan said, “In my personal view, our right to the Temple Mount is unshakable.”
The minister, who oversees the police, added that the status quo “is discriminatory toward the Jewish people. What can you do? That’s the truth.”
Still, he emphasized that neither the police nor any single lawmaker can change the status quo, but only “the political leadership” — an apparent reference to Netanyahu — in coordination with Jordan and other countries, can.
Edelstein announced that he had signed up to a new lobby with Glick in the parliament to advance the issue of Temple Mount prayer.
Like many of the other speakers, Edelstein referred to the much-gabbed about UNESCO resolutions, calling them a “joke.” “You can’t argue with a joke,” he said.
A Zionist sheikh, the mother of a terror victim
Sitting in the front row and flanked by his wife and right-wing MKs, Glick got up to shake the hands of each of the speakers. But the US-born Orthodox rabbi saved his warmest greeting — a bear hug — for Likud MK Amir Ohana, the party’s sole openly gay lawmaker, who was Glick’s volunteer bodyguard after the shooting.
The conference also saw a Zionist sheikh read passages from the Bible (to applause) and the Quran (less applause), arguing passionately in favor of Jewish ties to the Temple Mount.
Several activists received awards from the organization, including bereaved mother Rena Ariel, who was honored by the agriculture minister, a cousin by marriage. A composed and fervent Ariel, a founder of the “Women for the Temple” movement, accepted the recognition to a standing ovation, with a call for more visits to the site, particularly by children.
“I’m a little embarrassed that after 50 years, we need to beg to pray on the Temple Mount… We still have an opportunity to fix it, because this year is the year of Jerusalem in the education system — let’s put the Temple Mount at the center, let’s show the Temple Mount to the children and the families, and next year this conference will be on the Temple Mount,” she said.
Also honored was activist Refael Morris, who runs the “Returning to the Mount” movement, and who was detained in April by police en route to the Temple Mount, live goat in tow, to prepare a ritual Passover sacrifice.
In his speech, Morris took an eyebrow-raising departure from the conciliatory tone adopted by most of the conference’s speakers, who urged Jewish prayer alongside Christian and Muslim worship. He called for the building of a third Temple and razing the Muslim sites. “And we will also conquer Jordan and Syria,” he added, and “build a real Jewish state here.”
Times Of Israel
The narrative provided to date by various Jordanian officials has also indicated the possibility of a spontaneous outbreak of tension between certain Jordanian and US military personnel over recent, heightened friction between the sides, with several Jordanians also hurt in the incident.
But assuming the incident was a terror attack, Carmon, who has also advised the Defense Ministry and participated in NATO workshops on terrorism, said the shooting still needed to be put into the greater picture of complex events impacting terror in Jordan, Israel and their neighbors.
He said that “US-Jordan cooperation is huge” and is a “key bridge to other states like Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Israel.”
Carmon explained that “the US has an interest in a stable regime, Jordan needs assistance, including military and economic and the backing of a superpower.”
For the US and Israel, Jordan is a firewall of stability against ISIS and other terror groups trying to spread their influence from Syria and Iraq.
He said ISIS, Hezbollah, Iran and other groups “are trying to get into Jordan and know it is important, but until now have had very limited success.”
There has been some ISIS success in infiltrating the Beduin community in Jordan, noted Carmon, but mostly Jordan has stopped them and has recently arrested some Hezbollah-Iran cells.
The big concerns are that the last year or two have caused internal divisions within Jordan where the Muslim Brotherhood and even the broader population is not ready to fight a war with ISIS.
These seeping divisions, along with the 1.5 million Syrian and Iraqi refugees in Jordan with no horizon for an improved situation, is a combustible situation for ISIS and others to inspire “lone wolf” attackers, said Carmon.
He explained that the same threats that these terror groups pose to Jordan can also apply to Israel either by undermining Jordan as a bulwark of stability and a quiet border for Israel or by building more of a foundation for terrorists to sneak into Israel from Jordan.
However, the biggest threat that he said the attack highlighted is the escalating terror threat to Israel, Jordan and US advisers in the region after ISIS’s expected fall in Mosul and other locations.
While these expected victories go a long way toward reducing ISIS’s regional power, large numbers of ISIS’s foreign fighters are expected to retreat, survive and pose a lower-grade but potent terror danger in the area in other ways, he said.
Israel could find itself tracking an influx of terrorists in Turkey and Jordan, but also closer to home in the Sinai, where ISIS can try to recruit Israeli-Arabs or Beduins from close range.
One interesting phenomenon he pointed out which may help Jordan push back against infiltration and terror by ISIS is the government’s cooperation with other Jihadist groups, who it then co-opts to stand against ISIS.
Carmon gave Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, a central Salafist figure in Jordan and a former mentor of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and Abu Qatada, who was involved with terror groups including in England until being extradited to Jordan.
Both Jihadist leaders received some favorable treatment from Jordanian law enforcement in return for making “strong statements against ISIS,” said Carmon. Their standing with the Jordanian government in turn can insulate it from criticism for fighting ISIS.
Overall, Carmon called the incident very embarrassing for Jordanian and US intelligence and counter-terror cooperation. He added that both sides hope the attack was carried out by a lone-wolf or the result of a misunderstanding, and want to resolve the matter quickly so as to stabilize cooperation.
In November 2015, a Jordanian army officer said to be inspired by ISIS killed two US private security contractors and a South African at a US-funded police training facility.
Many Jordanians oppose the government’s close counter-terrorism cooperation with the US and Israel, including working with the US on airstrikes against ISIS, while receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in aid in return.
A few days ago, Israel recalled its ambassador to UNESCO for consultations after the U.N. culture body adopted a second resolution in two weeks that Israeli leaders said ignored Judaism’s connection with one of Jerusalem’s holiest sites, Reuters reported.
The resolution adopted by UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee in Paris refers to the compound as a “Muslim holy site of worship”, just as its resolution Oct. 13.
The latest vote, like the first, deals with the safeguarding of the city’s religious heritage.
At the Paris meeting, Israeli ambassador Carmel Shama Hacohen dropped a copy of the resolution into a trash bin.
According to Haaretz, contacts were made by Israel and the US via “secret channels,” which culminated in a panel session Wednesday morning when Palestinians and representatives of the Arab countries “were surprised” that Croatian and Tanzanian ambassadors demanded a secret vote, rather than passing the decision by consensus, as is permitted by UNESCO regulations.
Meanwhile, the PLO voiced its support for the resolution in a statement Wednesday saying that, “Contrary to what the Israeli government claims, the resolution that was voted by UNESCO aims at reaffirming the importance of Jerusalem for the three monotheistic religions,” adding that Al-Aqsa “continues to be threatened by the systematic incitement and provocative actions of the Israeli government and extremist Jewish groups.”
“Through an orchestrated campaign, Israel has been using archaeological claims and distortion of facts as a way to legitimize the annexation of Occupied East Jerusalem,” the statement added.
The resolution’s approval also came after reports emerged Tuesday suggesting that Israeli police would now recommend permitting members of Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, to visit the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, after they were banned last October in an attempt to ease tensions at the site.
Tensions around occupied East Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound were a main contributor to a wave of unrest that began last October, after right-wing Israelis made frequent visits to the site during the Jewish holiday season this time last year.
Two weeks ago, Israel lashed out at UNESCO for renewing a similar resolution that condemned it for restricting Muslim access to the site, in a part of Jerusalem captured by Israeli forces in a 1967 war.
Israel considers all of Jerusalem as its capital, a position that is not recognized internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent state they seek in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Middle East Observer
For a man who just lost a significant vote, Israel’s Ambassador to UNESCO Carmel Shama-Hacohen was having what he described as a “dream” day.
Israel had always known that it would lose the vote at the World Heritage Committee meeting in Paris on a resolution that ignores Jewish ties to the Temple Mount. So it worked instead to ensure that the text was as benign as possible and that it passed with minimal support.
It involved an Israeli bluff to counter a Palestinian threat intended to pressure the WHC to pass the resolution by consensus.
The Palestinian Authority and Jordan had warned that they would strengthen the Muslim claims to the site in the resolution, unless there were a consensus vote on the existing text, which was a softer version than the one the WHC approved last year.
Israel allowed them to believe they had the consensus support. Part of that strategy was the release of statements to the media about how Israel expected a major loss at the WHC meeting in Paris.
Assuming a consensus support, the Palestinians and the Jordanians submitted the softer version of the resolution for a vote.
It was only until the meeting opened, and Tanzania and Croatia called for a secret ballot, that the Palestinians and the Jordanians suddenly understood that events would not go as planed.
For over half an hour the Arab countries on the committee, led by Lebanon and with the help of Cuba, attempted and ultimately failed to push forward a consensus motion.
The vote that then took place was on the less contentious text, particularly compared to the one that the committee approved in 2015.
The World Heritage Committee votes annually on Jerusalem, so that it can reaffirm its placement on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites. Wednesday’s resolution was also less problematic than the one approved earlier this month by UNESCO’s 58-member executive board.
Among the critical differences was the restoration of the Jewish terms of reference for the Western Wall, which in past resolutions had been in quotation marks or parentheses, with the text referring to the holy Jewish site only by its Muslim name, the Buraq Wall.
There were fewer references to the Temple Mount’s Muslim name of al-Haram al-Sharif, and only one statement that it is a Muslim holy site of worship.
The 2016 WHC text spoke once of the Israeli “occupation” authorities, but dropped the 10 references in the 2015 text to Israel as an “occupying power.”
Shama-Hacohen said that it had been unclear until Wednesday morning how much support Israel had. In the end, he said, only the Arab states on the committee, along with Cuba and Vietnam, supported the resolution.
“We succeeded in surprising them [the Palestinians and the Arab states] at the last minute,” Shama-Hacohen said. “Credit for this is due to the Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.
“I want to issue a special thanks to two brave nations, Croatia and Tanzania, that lay on the fence for Israel and publicly asked for a vote, [and] stood against the wishes of the Arab world,” Shama-Hacohen said. He also thanked the United States for the significant role that it played.
“With respect to the content, the Arab nations had no choice but to beat an almost complete retreat on the issue of the Western Wall,” Shama- Hacohen said.
The problem that remained was referring to the Temple Mount solely by its Muslim name, al-Haram al-Sharif, he said. “But that issue will also be solved one day, and the truth will win out.”
Government spokesman says it is ‘too simplistic’ to say buying gas from Israel aids country’s occupation of Palestine
Jordan on Monday defended its deal to buy Israeli natural gas that has stirred public opposition, insisting the accord would not leave the Arab country reliant on the Jewish state.
Mohamed Momani, the information minister, told Jordanian television that the deal would cut $600m a year from the state’s energy bill.
“We will not be dependent on Israel,” he said.
Momani said the government was seeking to diversify its sources of gas supplies.
It was “too simplistic to say that sealing such a deal means the kingdom is supporting Israeli occupation,” he said, referring to the occupied Palestinian territories.
An estimated 2,000 Jordanians took part in a demonstration on Friday in the centre of Amman to protest against the deal signed on 26 September to import natural gas from Israel.
The protest was called by the “National Campaign to Overturn the Gas Deal with the Zionist Entity”, a broad coalition of civil society groups, activists, lawyers and political groups.
A US-led consortium leading the development of Israel’s offshore gas reserves announced the deal to sell natural gas from its Leviathan field to Jordan.
US firm Noble Energy, the lead partner, said the contract with the National Electric Power Company of Jordan (NEPCO) was for 300 million cubic feet (8.5 million cubic metres) per day over a 15-year term.
Middle East Eye
In what is likely an Israeli diplomatic achievement, UNESCO withdrew at the last moment another draft resolution that ignores the historical and archaeological evidence proving the connection the Jewish People have to the Temple Mount.
Minutes before the vote was slated to take place, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) withdrew a draft resolution on Jerusalem that ignores the Jewish People’s ties to the Temple Mount.
The resolution, which was due to be voted on by the 21-members of UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee that is now meeting in Istanbul, was apparently withdrawn because its sponsors, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA), realized they failed to garner the votes needed for a majority.
The motion asked that the committee maintain the Old City’s status as an endangered site. It has been a World Heritage site since 1981. It recognized supposed Muslim and Arab historical ties to Israel’s capital, while denying the Jewish ones
Part of the resolution attacks Israeli practices in the Old City, including its actions on the Temple Mount.
Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold on Monday sent a letter to UNESCO in which he accused the organization of being totally “disconnected from reality.”
“As the historical heritage sites of this area are being systematically destroyed by jihadist forces, such as the Islamic State, in Syria and Iraq, UNESCO’s adoption of utterly false allegations about Israeli archaeological practices is misplaced and hypocritical, at best,” Gold wrote.
Gold approached 16 member states and requested that they vote against the motion. His efforts have apparently been fruitful, and Jerusalem views this development as a diplomatic victory.
Its is unclear if and when the resolution will be resubmitted.
In April, UNESCO passed an anti-Israel resolution denying the historical and archaeological evidence proving a long-existing Jewish presence on the Temple Mount.
With 33 votes in favor, six against, and 17 abstentions, the resolution solely referred to the Temple Mount areas by their Muslim names—Al-Aqsa Mosque/Haram al-Sharif—with the exception of two references to the Western Wall Plaza in parentheses. The resolution also referred to the Western Wall plaza by its Muslim name, Al-Buraq Plaza.
France and Brazil, which voted in favor of the resolution, later expressed regret.
World Israel News
The Secretary of Commerce for the Jordanian Opposition Coalition Abedalelah Almaala explains why the Hashemite regime is on the verge of collapsing and what the West can expect to be the results of the ensuing crisis.
With the wholesale slaughter in Syria and endless unrest in Iraq, Yemen, Libya and other places, the world is not paying a lot of attention to Jordan. To make it clear; Jordan has turned into a state of non-state because the government cannot enforce its authority on large areas of the country. Gun battles are a daily event. Western Embassies have issued serious security warnings regarding traveling to Jordan. The king and his entire Hashemite family spend most of their time, on purpose, out of Jordan. There are apparent internal conflicts between the regime and the now-independent security agencies. And on top of all public unrest, people are increasingly openly despising the royal family.
Shocked? Don’t be! It is only the tip of the political, social and economic iceberg that is melting and the noise you hear before the erupting volcano is the calm just before the storm.
That is why as Secretary of Commerce for the Jordan Opposition Coalition (JOC), it is clear that Jordan is facing an economic, political and social meltdown that will devastate the country and region.
Of course, many in the Western media are reluctant to write about Jordan, for a variety of reasons, with the two largest being:
- It is much sexier to report on stories like Syria and ISIS;
- A few bad apples in the Western media frequently wine, dine and are recipients of gift and travel perks, often at Jordan’s king’s expense.
To the average person, the king’s opulence and continued spending makes it safe to say that Jordan will never be the same. In fact, Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton said this just at the end of last year: “Jordan’s future is not clear”.
Now I am not a medical person, but I want to ask you this hypothetical question: What’s worse than having an illness or disease? How about mistreating the problem and then being prescribed the wrong treatment and medicine? In a similar analogy, for some reason, Western writers are avidly promoting the claim that Jordan is collapsing because of the economic worries and therefore, all the world has to do is pump more money to Jordan and everything will be all right.
Personally, that couldn’t be further from the truth. In the span of less than 2 years, Jordan’s king has turned himself into an economic black hole, surviving on foreign and Arab aid. And unfortunately, just simply giving money to him at this stage is not going to change or fix anything. I think this is clear to many of the Gulf States because they are no longer giving the king the aid he needs and is requesting. Also along the same lines, major Western donors (without naming them for this article) are no longer providing their generous and unconditional aid for the following reasons:
- Despite having received over $30 billion from Western governments in the form of aid (and more than $40 billion in the last 17 years alone), Jordan’s king has accumulated a national debt for the country approaching $40 billion, for a country whose 8 million population survives on a budget of just under $8.5 billion. As I scratch my head, I have to ask, what could he have possibly done with the money? For those in the west, you need to know that there is not one single free service that Jordan offers to its citizens (except education). There is no welfare system, no free or subsidized healthcare, no social services system, and Jordanians pay a total of 16 different taxes including 200% tariff on a small car (if you buy a car in Jordan, you will pay the value of three cars). This begs the question: What did the king (and his family) do with the money? Without knowing that, why would anyone want to give him more money, when they don’t know what happened to the previous given amounts?
- Jordan’s debt to GDP ratio stands at a staggering 90%. Greece collapsed when it reached the same rate. And while Greece and others were bailed out because they had more or less transparent governments that showed everyone where they used the money, Jordan has no real government, is run by an iron fisted monarch, and it is estimated to have 1,000 people running the whole country, with the government being just a useless façade with no real authority at all.
- The king’s one-man show operates Jordan like a medieval style state. And with his Constitutional Powers recently expanded to place him above the law, the people and the Constitution, it would be foolish for any bank or government to give loans to Jordan’s government. In the JOC’s opinion, if they do so, they are betting on one man and not the country. In fact, when (not if) the king is toppled, those who have lent him the money should probably go collect it from him directly and not the Jordanians who are going to be left holding the bag. We never borrowed the money, nor did we receive any benefit from it, so why should we have to pay for it?
- Jordan’s king has refused any form of fiscal reforms or transparency, so how could anyone give aid money or loans to someone who refuses to utilize budget practices that governments in the 21st century are using. To prove my point, even the US Embassy Amman cables made public by WikiLeaks have confirmed that the US believes the king has executed zero reforms. Again, this begs the question – without reforms, why should anyone risk investing in a sinking ship called the Hashemite regime?
- The king and his regime, his media, his writers, his TV, his thinkers, his loyalists and everything he controls have been promoting instability in the Middle East by inciting hatred towards Israel and Jews. In fact, many mindless commentators have made claims that this is only “lip service to appease the public”. As leader of the Jordan Opposition Coalition (JOC), I have to emphatically state that the king is really inciting against Israel and Jews in Arabic, perhaps hoping that both the Israelis and Americans will not pay attention to what is being said. We are positive of this claim because they have been documented not just by us at theJOC, but by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs who has publically protested through official channels twice.
- In the region, Israel is not the only one who knows what Jordan’s king is up to and many are watching him. In fact, the king has been ignoring calls from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, UAE, the USA, UK and others to shut down the Muslim Brotherhood, whose HQ just happens to be across the street from his mega mansion in downtown Amman. On one hand, he says that he has, while on the other hand, he has clearly refused to do so and has publically said that he would not do so. Nonetheless, the naive Western media has been reporting that the king is “shutting down the Muslim Brotherhood.” Anyone in Jordan asks, how? Where? When? Or in what way? With the operations of their TV, Radio and other media outlets, as well as the operation of their huge trust fund, they are now fielding candidates in the upcoming elections, challenging the west once again – to either support a brutal dictator, a terrorist group, or, a group dedicated to peace and democracy like the JOC.
In closing, Jordan is a state that is in transition and is economically melting down. Clearly, the regime is falling. It’s just a matter of time, and everything that is being done now to prop it up will prove to be a waste of time, energy, money and unfortunately, lives.
As such, the JOC believes that a lot of money and lives can be saved by taking prudent action today in order to protect tomorrow. The largest action that can be taken immediately is installing the requirement that transparency be associated with each loan. If this requirement is established on all loaned money, it is the number 1 way to ensure that it will not end up in the king’s Swiss bank account but rather, it will be used for what it is intended for – those who are starving, homeless or refugees.
With strong connections to Israeli leaders, analysts say Prime Minister Hani Mulki will focus on bolstering investment.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has appointed long-time politician Hani Mulki as the new prime minister tasked with forming an interim government with parliamentary elections fast approaching.
The king ordered the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour’s government as its four-year term came to an end and dissolved parliament on Sunday. Mulki will shepherd in the elections, which are set to take place within the next four months.
Jordanian analysts said the moves came as no surprise as both steps were long anticipated in light of domestic and regional developments.
The outgoing Ensour, who served since 2012, was one of the longest-serving prime ministers in Jordan’s history. Traditionally prime ministers serve between one to two years, and in some instances for few months only.
|Jordan takes more refugees amid Aleppo onslaught|
Ensour’s long tenure witnessed the passing of a new election law, controversial economic reforms, and constitutional amendments that gave the king absolute control over the legislative and judicial branches, in addition to his own executive powers as king.
The new prime minister-designate Mulki was the head of the Aqaba economic zone before he was chosen by King Abdullah.
Husam Abdallat, a former senior government aide at the prime minister’s office, told Al Jazeera from Amman that Mulki will most likely be tasked with trying to engineer new negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
“Mulki will be working to bring Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiation table and work to bring a final solution to the Palestinian cause which most likely be at the expense of the Palestinian people,” he said.
Tareq al-Fayed, an Amman-based analyst on Jordanian affairs and a journalist at the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, said Mulki has two major mandates during his tenure.
“The first is to manage the news phase of the parliamentary elections and set the government’s political agenda. The second is to manage Israeli-Jordanian relations, which have seen tension over Israel’s policies and encroachment on the Palestinians in Jerusalem and against al-Aqsa mosque,” Fayed told Al Jazeera.
Strong Israeli ties
One of the final acts of the outgoing parliament last week was the passing of the “investment law”, which allows foreign countries, including Israel, to invest in strategic projects in Jordan, such as energy and infrastructure development.
The majority of parliamentarians voted in a morning session against the inclusion of Israel in the law, but later in the day went on to rescind that vote.
“Passing the investment law and allowing Israel to have control over our economics constitutes a serious threat to Jordan’s economic interests and its national security,” said retired army general and columnist Mousa al-Odwan, who writes for the Al-Maqar online newspaper in Amman.
Mulki, 65, previously chaired the Jordanian government committee that negotiates with Israel from 1994-96.
Fayed noted that Mulki enjoys long and strong ties with Israeli leaders, which would not only enable him to smooth over bilateral differences – including over Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians – but also bring in Israeli capital and investment to help the faltering Jordanian economy.
National security threats
Odwan told Al Jazeera he thinks Mulki is a “fresh face” and a choice that is much better than the typical ones based on family ties and personal relationships that have dominated the prime minister’s office for decades.
He also highlighted that the economic situation in Jordan has reached dangerous levels. “Mulki must embark on new economic policies that would revive the Jordanian economy and help the Jordanian public. I wish him well in this area,” he said.
Palestinian, Jordanian sources say the countries are pushing for Fatah’s former Gaza strongman to make gradual return to political life
Egypt, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates are preparing for the ascent of the Fatah movement’s former Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan as next head of the Palestinian Authority, according to the Middle East Eye website.
Dahlan, the 54-year-old former head of the PA security forces in Gaza, has been living in the Gulf since he left the Palestinian territories several years ago. Dahlan has for many years been a bitter rival of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, 81, who in 2011 accused of him murdering late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
The Middle East Eye said that it received information on the Egyptian-Jordanian-Emirati plan from separate Palestinian and Jordanian sources.
According to the report, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed is one of the prime movers of the plan. Zayed reportedly informed Jordan that differences in the Jordanian and UAE attitudes toward Abbas were affecting bilateral relations. The Emiratis at one point sought Abbas’s arrest as well as a ban on him entering Jordan or using Jordan to as a departure point for foreign travel.
“The Emiratis, particularly Mohammed Bin Zayed, absolutely reject Abbas on the personal level, to the extent that they told the Jordanians explicitly that the reason the UAE is negative about Jordan is due to the fact that Jordan did not take a stand against Abbas,” an unnamed senior Palestinian source was quoted by report as saying.
“The parties [the UAE, Jordan and Egypt] believe that Mahmoud Abbas has expired politically and that they should endeavor to stop any surprises by Abbas during the period when Fatah will remain under his leadership until the elections are held,” the source was quoted as saying.
The plan includes reintroducing Dahlan to the Palestinian territories, initially in a role that would not directly challenge Abbas, such as parliamentary speaker.
Dahlan, however, is considered to be unpopular among Palestinians and has been accused of links to Israeli security services. His broken relationship with Abbas is also considered problematic.
Abbas is currently serving as PA president for the 11th straight year, even though elections are expected to take place every four years.
There was no confirmation of the report on from media outlets.
Times Of Israel
Israeli officials reject claims Jewish visits to Temple Mount constitute attacks on Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Israel responded Monday afternoon to recent claims made by the Jordanian government, according to which Israeli actions on the Temple Mount were threatening the Al-Aqsa Mosque and harming Arabs on the Mount.
Earlier in April Jordan blasted Israel for allowing 400 Jews to ascend the Mount, accusing the group of plotting against the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Jordan demanded that Israel prevent what it described as “settler attacks on Al Aqsa-Mosque.”
Amman called the incident “a flagrant violation of international law,” warning that Jewish visitation of the holiest site in Judaism would inflame tensions in the region and spark a religious war.
Israeli officials speaking on Monday rejected recent statements by the Jordanian government, calling them baseless.
“There’s absolutely no basis for these claims,” the officials said. “Israel is behaving responsibly, and Jordan knows that.”
Israel has largely ignored Jordanian criticisms regarding the Temple Mount, viewing them largely as token statements made to satisfy demands by radical elements within the Arab world.
While Jordan relinquished all claims to territory west of the Jordan River in 1988, it continued to claim custodianship over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. As part of the 1994 Israel-Jordan peace treaty, Jordan’s largely symbolic status as custodian was formally recognized.