The Original Nakba: The Division of “TransJordan”

This year marks 100 years since the Balfour Declaration on November 2, 1917 which endorsed “the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish People.” The declaration became the basis for the League of Nations (precursor to the United Nations) to endorse the Palestine Mandate which clearly articulated the history and rights of Jews to a reconstituted national homeland in the area now commonly thought of as Gaza, Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

Article 25 of the Mandate allowed the administrator (Britain) to change the contours of the reestablished Jewish homeland.

“In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled, with the consent of the Council of the League of Nations, to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate as he may consider inapplicable to the existing local conditions, and to make such provision for the administration of the territories as he may consider suitable to those conditions, provided that no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 15, 16 and 18.”

On September 23, 1922, the League of Nations adopted the suggestion of the British to divide the territory in two, in a document called the “Transjordan Memorandum.” That memorandum stripped away any mention of Jewish history in the land, facilitating the emigration of Jews to Palestine or the creation of a Jewish homeland in the area east of the Jordan River.

The memorandum also facilitated a complete abrogation of key components of Article 25 of the Palestine Mandate that allowed such separation: that “no action shall be taken which is inconsistent with the provisions of Articles 15, 16 and 18.” Those provisions specifically enumerated non-discrimination clauses that were to be kept in place in the new TransJordan:

Article 15:

The Mandatory shall see that complete freedom of conscience and the free exercise of all forms of worship, subject only to the maintenance of public order and morals, are ensured to all. No discrimination of any kind shall be made between the inhabitants of Palestine on the ground of race, religion or language. No person shall be excluded from Palestine on the sole ground of his religious belief.

The right of each community to maintain its own schools for the education of its own members in its own language, while conforming to such educational requirements of a general nature as the Administration may impose, shall not be denied or impaired.

Article 16:

The Mandatory shall be responsible for exercising such supervision over religious or eleemosynary bodies of all faiths in Palestine as may be required for the maintenance of public order and good government. Subject to such supervision, no measures shall be taken in Palestine to obstruct or interfere with the enterprise of such bodies or to discriminate against any representative or member of them on the ground of his religion or nationality.

Article 18:

The Mandatory shall see that there is no discrimination in Palestine against the nationals of any State Member of the League of Nations (including companies incorporated under its laws) as compared with those of the Mandatory or of any foreign State in matters concerning taxation, commerce or navigation, the exercise of industries or professions, or in the treatment of merchant vessels or civil aircraft. Similarly, there shall be no discrimination in Palestine against goods originating in or destined for any of the said States, and there shall be freedom of transit under equitable conditions across the mandated area.

Subject as aforesaid and to the other provisions of this mandate, the Administration of Palestine may, on the advice of the Mandatory, impose such taxes and customs duties as it may consider necessary, and take such steps as it may think best to promote the development of the natural resources of the country and to safeguard the interests of the population. It may also, on the advice of the Mandatory, conclude a special customs agreement with any State the territory of which in 1914 was wholly included in Asiatic Turkey or Arabia.”

International law was clear that any division of the territory would ensure that no discrimination of any kind be allowed on the basis of religion.

But that is exactly what Transjordan/Jordan became: an anti-Semitic country established by the United Nations which prohibits Jews in a variety of areas.

No Citizenship

Consider Jordan’s Nationality Law of 1954:

“Article 3:

The following shall be deemed to be Jordanian nationals:

Any person who, not being Jewish, possessed Palestinian nationality before 15 May 1948 and was a regular resident in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan between 20 December 1949 and 16 February 1954;”

Can you think of anything more explicitly anti-Semitic than a law that specifically separates Jews from others and bans them from becoming citizens?

No Land Purchases

Jordan prohibited Jews from buying any land in the area that had been part of the Palestine Mandate in an edict, Law No. (40) of 1953 Concerning the Leasing and Selling of Immovable Properties from Foreigners, as amended by Law No. (12) of 1960; and  Law No. (2) of 1962.

Jordan has continued along this path even post its 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

In March 2016, the Jordanian government singled out Israelis as being banned from buying or renting property around the city of Petra. No other country is subject to such provision.


The League of Nations considered at the outset of its endorsement of a Jewish national home in 1920 and 1922 that perhaps the contours of such homeland should exclude the land east of the Jordan River. But international law has – and continues to fail – in two major respects:

  • In JORDAN: The provision (Article 25) to cut the eastern part of the Mandate (and ONLY the eastern part) from the Jewish homeland specifically did not allow the discrimination against Jews from buying land or obtaining citizenship there;
  • In the WEST BANK: All of the land west of the Jordan River was allocated for a Jewish homeland, and obviously with full legal authorization for Jews to purchase homes and obtain citizenship, despite calls by the current Palestinian Authority leadership to have a Jew-free country

The division of the Palestine Mandate in September 1922 to create Jordan was a disgraceful tragedy which denied Jewish history and rights east of the Jordan River. Despite this, people have attempted to expand upon Article 25 almost a century later to divide the land WEST of the Jordan River in an identical course of anti-Semitic charges that the West Bank should not have a single Jew.

The Palestinian Arabs coined the term “Nakba” (catastrophe) for the founding of the Jewish State on just a part of the Palestine Mandate on May 15, 1948. However, the original Nakba happened 26 years earlier, when the British gutted the essence of international law set out in the Palestine Mandate: for all of the land west of the Jordan River to be the Jewish homeland, and the land east of the river to have full legal rights for Jewish worship, land ownership and citizenship.

Remarkably, the Jewish Nakba of September 23, 1922 is seeking a second coming.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Palestinian Jews and a Judenrein Palestine

Regime Reactions to Israel’s “Apartheid” and “Genocide”

A “Viable” Palestinian State

Israel was never a British Colony; Judea and Samaria are not Israeli Colonies

“Ethnic Cleansing” in Israel and the Israeli Territories

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Oh Abdullah, Jordan is Not So Special

The current leader of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is a well-polished man named King Abdullah II, who has reigned since the passing of his father in 1999. In recent years, he has aggressively sought to claim “special” rights in the holy sites of Jerusalem, well beyond his reach.


King Abdullah II of Jordan

In May 2017, King Abdullah II addressed the United States President Donald Trump and said:

“the Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites is an unbreakable, historical responsibility and an honour to undertake on behalf of the Arab and Muslim nations.”

There were several problems with his claim:

  • Jordan has no custodianship over Christian sites
  • Jordan does not have exclusive custodianship
  • Jordan’s actions underscore that it is not “responsible” as it’s words are very “breakable”
  • Jordan’s basis for custodianship relates to its funds and efforts regarding improvements to the site, which Israel has in abundance regarding the Old City of Jerusalem, (which Jordan opts to ignore)
  • Jordan negotiated those custodian rights with Israel, yet has undermined Israel’s authority in Jerusalem

Here are some details.

Christian Holy Sites in Jerusalem

In July 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a peace agreement. Within that treaty was language that related to Jordan’s role at Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem (Article 9.2):

“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.”

There was no mention of any Christian sites.

Jordan’s Non-Exclusive Role

The Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty gave Jordan special rights for: 1) Muslim holy sites for 2) Arab and Muslim Nations. However, the treaty gave Jordan nothing as it related to 1) Jewish holy sites, for 2) the rest of the non-Arab and non-Muslim world.

While the al Aqsa Mosque that sits at the southern tip of the Temple Mount is an exclusively Islamic site, the rest of the Temple Mount – including the location of the Dome of the Rock – are Jewish holy sites. Jordan has no special rights over such Jewish holy sites and nor any authority over non-Arab and non-Muslim visitors.

Jordan’s Abrogation of Key Components of the Israel Peace Treaty

Jordan has violated the underlying spirit of the peace treaty with Israel in various manners. In August 2017 the Jordanian Foreign Minister and the Waqf were critical of the 1,000 Jews that went onto the Temple Mount on Tisha B’Av saying “This is unprecedented, unacceptable and should stop.” But they have no rights to prohibit any Jew from ascending to the Temple Mount. Article 9.1 of the treaty underscored the point:

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

Additionally, King Abdullah’s July 2017 statement that Israel was trying to “Judaize” Judaism’s holiest space was an abrogation of Article 9.3 of the peace treaty which stated:

“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’s statements and actions were in direct violation of every sentiment of the peace treaty executed by his father and the Jewish State, as he sought to undermine Jewish history and rights on the Temple Mount.

The Deceit of the Jordanians and Palestinians

On March 31, 2013, King Abdullah II signed a treaty with the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas about Jordan’s role regarding the holy sites in Jerusalem. In that treaty, the parties asserted that the entirety of the Temple Mount was exclusively an Islamic site, and had no ties to other religions:

“Recalling the unique religious importance, to all Muslims, of Al Masjid Al Aqsa with its 144 dunums [the land size of the Temple Mount], which include the Qibli Mosque of Al Aqsa, the Mosque of the Dome of the Rock and all its mosques, buildings, walls, courtyards, attached areas over and beneath the ground and the Waqf properties tied-up to Al Masjid Al Aqsa, to its environs or to its pilgrims (hereinafter referred to as “Al Haram Al Sharif”);”

How do either the Jordanians or Palestinians believe that they are promoting “religious understanding, … tolerance and peace,” when they publicly step on Jewish history and faith?

It is also interesting to note that the Jordanian agreement with the PA also never discussed any Jordanian role with Christian holy sites.

“Historical responsibility” of Jordan and Israel

To this day, Jordan continues to state that the very presence of Israel in Jerusalem is a threat to Arabs and Muslim holy sites, and refuses to acknowledge that Jerusalem and the Temple Mount have been anchored in Jewish history for over 3000 years.

Consider language on King Abdullah’s website called  “Custodianship over Holy Sites.

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

How does Abdullah make such a statement while also acknowledging Israel’s role in Jerusalem in its peace treaty? Is Jordan’s treaty with Israel only based on Israel’s de facto existence and presence in Jerusalem? If Jordan believes that Israel has no role or place in Jerusalem, why have sections in the peace treaty specifically discussing Jerusalem?

The website goes on to discuss the long history of Jordan in fixing up various parts of Jerusalem, including Christian and Muslim holy sites:

“His Majesty’s attention was not limited to Islamic holy sites; he personally helped put out a fire that nearly destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 1949. All throughout his reign (1921-1951), King Abdullah I was the guardian and custodian of Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.”

The “investments” made by Jordan in the Old City of Jerusalem, pale in comparison to the investments made by the government of Israel since it reunited the city in June 1967. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent in city improvements. By such measure alone, Israel’s rights throughout the city trumps any claim by Jordanians or Palestinians.

Whose “Illegal Occupation”

In July 2017, Jordan was effective in pushing forward a UNESCO decision that condemned Israel’s excavations in the Old City such as the City of David, and recommitted to the claim that Jerusalem’s Old City walls were in “danger.” The Jordanian embassy added that “The resolution stated that all legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the holy city of Jerusalem, and in particular, the “basic law” on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith…. He also said that the decision, which Jordan presented jointly with Palestine through the Arab group at the committee, emphasised that all Israeli procedures and violations in East Jerusalem are null and void under the international law.”

It is a strange hypocrisy that Jordan claims that Israel’s annexation and role in the Old City of Jerusalem is illegal and not recognized by the international community, when Jordan’s annexation of the eastern half of Jerusalem and the “West Bank” in 1950 was itself not recognized by any country (other than itself, the UK and Pakistan).


The King of Jordan claims that his country has a special role in the Old City of Jerusalem and that he advances peace even though:

  • Jordan’s “special role” does nothing to undermine the rights of Jews at its holiest site
  • Jordan’s investment in Jerusalem pales next to Israel’s investment
  • Jordan’s annexation of the Old City of Jerusalem was less legal than Israel’s annexation of the eastern part of the city in1980

The King of Jordan is eloquent but deceitful. He shrouds himself in words of peace as he stirs up a religious war at Judaism’s holy site.

Abdullah has begged both Israel and the Palestinian Authority for some special status in the Jerusalem’s Old City, and each party has agreed to give him some role as a neutered and neutral party. But as Abdullah stretches the meaning of his role and undermines the essence of the peace treaty, it is time for Israel to reconsider Jordan’s role and reassert the Jewish State’s rights and responsibilities at Judaism’s holiest spot.


Related First.One.Through articles:

Time for King Abdullah of Jordan to Denounce the Mourabitoun

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The UN’s #Alternative Facts about the 1967 Six Day War

750 Years of Continuous Jewish Jerusalem

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

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The Arab Middle East Makes Refugees, They Don’t Help Them

The Middle East is producing refugees in great numbers, as the civil wars in Syria and Sudan drag on, ISIS takes over large swathes of Iraq, and Libya and Yemen deteriorate into failed states.

The refugees are being welcomed into various western countries including Germany, Sweden and Canada. Just recently, Canada changed its laws under its new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to facilitate refugees becoming citizens.

In the Arab Middle East, only Jordan has opened its doors to fellow Muslim Arabs. The Islamic country of Turkey is not Arab, and prefers to act as a way station to refugees in transit to Europe.  The vast Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has not opened its doors. The rich states of Oman, Qatar and Kuwait have done nothing.

syrain refugees jordan
Syrian refugees in Jordan

There is a long history of the Muslim Arab Middle East creating refugees, but not welcoming them.

  • In 1991, after the Palestinians supported Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in his takeover of Kuwait, the Kuwaitis expelled over 300,000 Palestinians. Goodbye.
  • In 1967, after the Egyptians and Syrians threatened to destroy Israel, but ended up losing the war, the countries did not welcome any Arabs from the region into their countries as new citizens.
  • In 1948-9, when the Arab countries surrounding Israel launched an attack to destroy the Jewish State, but failed to do so and consequently helped create 711,000 Arab refugees, they let the people suffer.  While the Syrian government allowed the United Nations to establish refugee camps for the Palestinian Arab refugees inside Syria, it never allowed those refugees or their descendants to obtain work permits to get professional jobs.

And so it continues to this day. While the Islamic State dreams of building a unified caliphate to unite the Muslims of the Middle East, the established monarchies continue to do their utmost to cement divisions.

The Muslim Middle East today is divided between the genocidal jihadists of ISIS who seek Muslim unity by killing anyone not like themselves, and the corrupt, racist monarchies that do nothing to promote unity.

Will the Muslims that flee the insanity of the region adopt western values of tolerance, or will they bring one of these brands of barbarism to the western world?


Related First.One.Through articles:

Help Refugees: Shut the UNRWA, Fund the UNHCR

Palestinian “Refugees” or “SAPs”?

Considering a Failed Palestinian State

The United States Joins the Silent Chorus

A Flower in Terra Barbarus

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Recognition of Acquiring Disputed Land in a Defensive War

On November 13, 2015, several resolutions were put forth at the United Nations to advance the cause of a Palestinian State.  Some of the statements made in the resolutions are self-contradictory and undermine the very foundation of the claims that Israel occupies “Palestinian territory.”

Claim of Israel’s Illegal Acquisition
of Land by War

In the Resolution Peaceful settlement of the question of Palestine (A/70/L.13), there is a claim that Israel illegally took control over Palestinian land:

“Reaffirming the principle of
the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war

This statement underlies the argument that many people have against Israel’s settlements in the “West Bank”: that Israel enlarged its boundaries when it “seized” (to quote the New York Times) Palestinian land in the Six-Day War in 1967.  The claim stems from some international laws in the United Nations:

  • UN Charter (1945) Article 2: Paragraph 3: “All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that peace and security, and justice are not endangered.”
  • UN Charter (1945) Article 2: Paragraph 4: “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”
  • Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations (1970) Principle 1: “Every State has the duty to refrain in its international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, or in any other manner inconsistent with the purposes of the United Nations. Such a threat or use of force constitutes a violation of international law and the Charter of the United Nations and shall never be employed as a means of settling international issues.

What is peculiar in the condemnation of Israel, is that the UN and Palestinians already acknowledge that Israel “seized Palestinian land” in 1949 and have endorsed it, as detailed below.

In the very same November 2015 UN resolution, the various countries that put forth the resolution (Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Comoros, Djibouti, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Nicaragua, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Yemen and State of Palestine), stated the following:

“Noting with concern that it has been 68 years since the adoption of its resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 and 48 years since the occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in 1967,” 

Note that “the occupation of Palestinian territory” is claimed to have started in 1967.  If there is a valid claim that Israel seized “Palestinian” land , the argument should extend to territory that Israel acquired in 1948-9. Yet the Palestinians curiously omit such claim not because they don’t view everything as Palestinian land, but because Israel has not sought to annex the West Bank.

Israel
November 29, 1947 to June 10, 1967

On July 24, 1922, the League of Nations (precursor to the UN) drafted a resolution that recognized “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home… [and] will secure the establishment of the Jewish national home… [and] shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in co-operation with the Jewish agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands and waste lands not required for public purposes.” It was on this basis that the world joined in the Zionist dream of further encouraging Jewish aliyah to Israel to create a Jewish homeland.

After several decades of Arabs fighting the law and seeking the end of Jewish immigration to Palestine, the British who oversaw the territory turned to the United Nations to implement a compromise solution.  On November 29, 1947, the United Nations voted to partition Palestine into distinct Jewish and Arab states. UN resolution 181 (which was specifically mentioned by the parties above in the 2015 UN resolution), was passed with 33 votes affirming; 13 against; and 10 countries abstaining.

On May 14 1948, as the British left Palestine, Israel declared itself as an independent state along the borders that were approved by the United Nations.  Several countries recognized the country including the US; the Soviet Union; Poland; Ireland; Yugoslavia; and South Africa, among others.  For their part, the Palestinian Arabs did NOT announce their own country along the UN stated borders.

1947 partition
Borders approved in UN resolution 181
November 29, 1947

Instead, with the approval of the Palestinian Arabs, several Arab countries – principally Jordan; Egypt; Syria; and Iraq, with forces also from Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen – invaded Israel.  In doing so those countries broke several international laws passed by the United Nations listed above about the “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State.

At war’s end, Israel took additional land from the region that was originally allocated by the UN to be a Palestinian Arab state.  Armistice agreements between Israel and the various warring parties were executed in 1949 which included language that the Armistice lines were NOT to be construed as final borders.  Egypt assumed control of the Gaza Strip and Jordan took control of Judea and Samaria, later annexing it into an area referred to as the “West Bank” in a move that was never recognized by the United Nations.

israel 1949 map
Borders after 1948-9 War

The world recognized the incremental land that Israel captured in its defensive war against the Arab armies in 1949.  That incremental land was disputed, and not part of any independent country or member state of the UN.

Israel
Since June 10, 1967

Even with the Armistice agreements meant to assure peace, Egypt and Syria made many provocative statements and actions that threatened Israel in early 1967.  In response to those threats, Israel launched a preemptive attack on Egypt and Syria in June 1967.  Despite warnings to remain out of the conflict, Jordan (together with Palestinian Arabs who were granted Jordanian citizenship in 1950) launched an attack on Israel from its illegal territory in the “West Bank.”

Once again, the Arab countries broke international law as well as the Armistice agreements they had in place with Israel.  As in the 1948-9 War, Israel legally defended itself and captured additional land:

  • Gaza (held by Egypt but not legally part of any country);
  • Sinai (part of Egypt)
  • Judea and Samaria/ West Bank (annexed illegally by Jordan, but not legally part of any country);
  • the Golan Heights (from Syria)

prewar_israel
Additional land added to Israel after
1967 Six Day War

When the Palestinian Arabs today discuss “the occupation of Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, in 1967,”  they are referring to land that is NOT, nor has it ever been part of a Palestinian state.  They are referring to lands that have been disputed for decades, that they would LIKE to have as a future Palestinian state.

Conclusion

The world accepted the acquisition of additional land by Israel in 1949.  The lands acquired were not “seized” in an offensive war against another country, but were disputed lands taken in a defensive war.  The West Bank and Gaza were taken similarly in 1967 (note that Israel left Gaza completely on its own in 2005).  The Sinai peninsula was returned to Egypt in 1982.

The Palestinians refused to accept Resolution 181 on November 29, 1947 and never declared an independent state.  While Israel has thus far only annexed the eastern part of Jerusalem that was divided in the 1948-9 War, it has left open the possibility of dividing Judea and Samaria, even though it was acquired in exactly the same manner as lands taken in 1948-9.

It is peculiar that countries acting on the Palestinian Arab’s behalf today should call out “the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war,” when several of those countries illegally warred against Israel in 1948-9, and the world gave Israel incremental disputed land at that time.  Arab countries repeated their illegal wars against Israel in 1967 and are now trying to recast history when the situation was identical to 1948-9.

The world accepted the additional land acquired by Israel in 1949 and the Palestinians admit as much when they only refer to land “occupied” since 1967.  The global community should accept Israel’s annexation of additional land when Israel chooses to annex it, and stop mischaracterizing the disputed land as “Palestinian territory,implying a history with claims that do not exist.


Related First.One.Through articles:

The Legal Israeli Settlements

The Green Line

Names and Narrative: The West Bank / Judea and Samaria

Names and Narrative: Palestinian Territories/ Israeli Territories

The Narrative that Prevents Peace in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Palestinians agree that Israel rules all of Jerusalem, but the World Treats the City as Divided

Real and Imagined Laws of Living in Silwan

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Visitor Rights on the Temple Mount

The cries coming from the acting-President of the Palestinian Authority and his rival political party, the terrorist group Hamas, to “defend al-Aqsa” stem from their claim that they are concerned that Jews are coming to destroy and/or defile the al Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam. To generate such fear, one would imagine that Jews are coming to the Temple Mount (on which al Aqsa sits on the southeastern most tip) illegally, and are bringing with them weapons and shouting threats against the mosque.

All of those assumptions would be completely false.

temple mt visit

To placate the outrageous claims from the PA, Hamas and the king of Jordan, on October 7, 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced a ban on Israeli members of Knesset from visiting the Temple Mount.

Here is a review of the completely legal, internationally approved and natural rights associated with Jews visiting the Temple Mount and today’s sad reality that none of it seems to matter.

Visiting Hours

Facts: The Temple Mount has regular visiting hours for people of all faiths. As mentioned by the popular tourist guidebook, Frommers:

There is no charge to enter the Temple Mount compound. You must not, however, wear shorts or immodest dress in the compound. (If your outfit is too revealing, guards may be willing to provide you with long cotton wraps, or they may ask you to return another time with more modest clothing.) Visitors are allowed on the Temple Mount
by permission of the Islamic religious authorities, and are asked
to obey instructions given by the guards.

There is an admission fee of NIS 38 ($9.50/£4.75) to go inside the two mosques and the Islamic Museum. If the buildings are again open to foreign visitors, I highly recommend that you invest in the combined admission ticket, which may be purchased from a stone kiosk between Al Aqsa and the Dome of the Rock. If visiting hours
are lengthened, you may usually remain on the Temple Mount, but cannot enter
the Dome of the Rock or the Al Aqsa Mosque during the midday prayers.”

The World Travel Guide site lists the specific visiting hours and ways of accessing the Mount:

Only one of the 10 gates to the complex, Al-Mughradi Gate, allows entry for non-worshippers. This is located to the right of the Western Wall and is accessed from
the Western Wall Plaza.

Opening Times: Closed during all prayer times (variable); otherwise Sun-Thurs 0730-1130 and 1330-1430 (summer); Sun-Thurs 0730-1030 and 1330-1430 (winter); Sun-Thurs 0730-1030 (during Ramadan); closed to non-Muslims Fri and Muslim holidays. During periods of tension, the site may be closed.

Admission Fees: No (for Temple Mount; charge for Dome of the Rock, Al Aqsa Mosque and Islamic Museum combined ticket).

Disabled Access: No

Unesco: Yes“

Reality today: Despite the publicized openness of the site, visiting this holy site and famous tourist location can be anything but pleasant. Hamas pays for Murabitun, Islamic extremists who shout and taunt Jewish visitors on the Temple Mount. Arabs have also hurled rocks at non-Muslim visitors.

Due to the various attacks, Israeli police escorts typically accompany non-Muslim visitors. The military has also occasionally restricted access to the Temple Mount for Muslims under 50 years old due to security concerns.

International Treaty

Facts: In 1994, Israel and Jordan signed a Peace Treaty. In that treaty was language that specifically gave special recognition of Jordan’s historic role at the Temple Mount site, while also cementing Israel’s responsibility for security.

The 1994 treaty discussed the Temple Mount, because Jordan had secured custodian rights to the site.  Jordan attacked Israel and illegally seized the entire Old City of Jerusalem (and Judea and Samaria) in 1948 and thereupon occupied the Old City. The Jordanians then expelled all of the Jews from the city and granted Jordanian citizenship to the Palestinians in the city. When Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967, it lost the Old City, but Israel allowed the Islamic Waqf controlled by Jordan to continue to administer the Temple Mount.

The Jordan-Israel treaty clearly gave rights to all people to visit holy sites in Jerusalem.  Article 9.1: Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.

And Article 9.3: “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.”

Reality today: The kingdom of Jordan signed a treaty with Israel that assured the “freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance,” and to “promote interfaith relations… with the aim of working towards religious understanding.”  The words in that agreement seem empty today as the Jordanian king claims the Temple Mount only has an “Arab character,” as he threatens to destroy the relationship with Israel because Jews are visiting the Temple Mount.

Israeli Law

Facts: When Israel reunified the city of Jerusalem in 1967, the Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol handed administrative control of the Temple Mount back to Jordan, the country that had just attacked his country for the second time in 20 years. He then enshrined “The Protection of Holy Places” law that all people would have access to the holy sites in Jerusalem.

” 1. The Holy Places shall be protected from desecration and any other violation and from anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places.

  1. Whosoever desecrates or otherwise violates a Holy Place shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of seven years.

  2. Whosoever does anything likely to violate the freedom of access of the members of the different religions to the places sacred to them or their feelings with regard to those places shall be liable to imprisonment for a term of five years.”

The 1967 Israeli Law was complemented by the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli Treaty which not only promised Israeli support for universal access to the holy sites, but Jordan’s support as well.

Reality today: However, the current Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu is trampling on Jewish rights of access and “feelings with regard to those places” as he bans their visitation rights even though they bring no weapons and threaten no one.

United Nations on Access

Facts: The United Nations often claims that it is concerned with providing access to people of all faiths to their holy sites and that it would prefer to see a “universal” approach to sites that are holy to many religions.  For example, UNESCO on March 19, 2010 published a piece about Palestinian rights to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and the Tomb of Rachel in Bethlehem, among the holiest sites in Judaism.  UNESCO wrote:

  • that Israel was “endangering Palestinian cultural heritage and denying Palestinians their cultural patrimony, as well as denying development and access to heritage sites and historic places of worship.”
  • Israel has publicly begun to use these sacred and universal sites to provoke unnecessary religious conflict by promoting control and access on the exclusive basis of one faith while denying the rights and views of other faiths.”

By these statement, it would appear that the UN is very concerned:

  • that people of all faiths be allowed access its holy places;
  • that such holy places not be under the exclusive control of a single faith; and
  • that people should not be cut-off from their “cultural patrimony.”

A person would naturally assume from these UN comments about Hebron and Bethlehem, that the UN must strongly endorse Jewish rights of access to their holiest site in the world, and it must strongly condemn any group or country that sought to deny Jews those rights.

Reality today: But this is the United Nations that specializes in inversion when it comes to Israel. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon described the basic Jewish desire and action of accessing its Temple Mount as a “provocation.”


Access is Not a Provocation

As detailed above, people of all faiths visiting the Temple Mount is legal by Israeli law, enshrined in an international treaty with Jordan, and follows a blueprint for co-existence as stated by the United Nations. Indeed, visiting hours exist for everyone.

For Jews, visiting their holiest spot in the world is a natural desire. They seek to do so in peace and quiet.  They do not seek to instigate a fight with anyone on the Mount.  Even Rabbi Yehuda Glick who was shot by Palestinian Arabs for advocating for Jewish prayer rights on the Temple Mount, did not seek to harm al Aqsa Mosque in any way.

No Temple = No Rights

If Jewish access to their holy sites is guaranteed and no one urged harming the site in any way, on what basis have Palestinian Arabs and Jordanians sought to deny Jews those basic rights of access?

The Palestinian Arabs have put forth a narrative that the Jewish Temple never existed on the Temple Mount. Their rationale is that if the Temple never existed there, Jews can claim no special visitation rights.

Consider that in addition to Mahmoud Abbas never mentioning Judaism in any of his speeches at the United Nations, there have been these quotes:

  • Mahmoud Abbas: “The leaders of Israel are making a grave mistake by thinking that history can move backward and that they could impose facts on the ground by dividing the Aksa Mosque in time and space, as they did with the Ibrahimi Mosque [Cave of the Patriarchs] in Hebron.
  • The Islamic Waqf on the discovery of ancient Jewish artifacts near the Temple Mount: “an attempt to support Israeli claims about Jewish rights in the holy city and to impose Israeli sovereignty on the occupied holy compound through the use of fake evidence….An immediate Arab and Muslim campaign is needed to stop the Israeli attempts to Judaise the holy city of Jerusalem,”
  • Israeli Arab MK Masoud Ganaim said the Temple never existed. “The site has always been holy to Islam, never to any other religion.”
  • Hamas’ Khaled Mashaal on the opening of the Hurva synagogue in the Old City: “It is part of a project to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque” and replace it with Israel’s so-called “Solomon’s Temple.” It is a “falsification of history and Jerusalem’s religious and historic monuments.

Never mind that even Atheists have rights of access.

Never mind that denying a core belief of Judaism spits in the face of a treaty that sought to promote interfaith relationships.

The argument itself is nonsensical by the Arabs’ own beliefs.  The Christian story of Jesus is specifically placed at Jerusalem’s Jewish Temple. How can Abbas or Jordanian king Abdullah claim special rights over the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, if they deny the story of Jesus in Jerusalem?

The Insanity of Today

Regardless, logic and rights fall flat in the face of Islamic fundamentalism: The UN condemns Israel for managing security, for which it has responsibility. It attacks Israel for the “provocation” of enabling Jews to have access to its holy sites. And the United States urges Israel to maintain the status quo, even though Netanyahu has stated over-and-again that he has and will.

So to appeal to the crazies, Netanyahu is banning members of the Knesset from access to Judaism’s holiest site.

It would appear that the left-wing radicals and racists are slowly winning the battle against human decency.


Related FirstOne Through articles:

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

Tolerance at the Temple Mount

The United Nations and Holy Sites in the Holy Land

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Extremist” or “Courageous”

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Jordan’s Deceit and Hunger for Control of Jerusalem

Jordan’s King Abdullah gave a flowery speech to the United Nations General Assembly in September 2015. To the casual listener, his words sounded progressive in his call for “loving our neighbour, showing respect to those different from us,” and to “amplify the voice of moderation,” especially from a region so caught up in violent Islamic extremism.

abdullah jordan
Jordanian King Abdullah addressed the 70th session of the United Nations
General Assembly on September 28, 2015. (Photo: Richard Drew/AP)

To a listener who was more familiar with Jordan’s history in the region, some of the king’s comments appeared as a welcome change from the actions of his late father. Others could question whether Abdullah harkens to his own voice. Consider Abdullah’s call:

let us recognise deceit. When we examine the motives of these outlaws, the khawarej – and indeed, the motives of extremists on all sides – we find hunger for power and control: of people, of money, of land. They use religion as a mask. Is there a worse crime than twisting God’s word to promote your own interests?”

“nothing can be more important and can have more impact in framing this respect and coexistence than Jerusalem. The Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian Holy Sites is a sacred duty, and we join Muslims and Christians everywhere in rejecting threats to the Holy Places
and the Arab character of this Holy City.”

When it comes to “respect and coexistence in Jerusalem,” let’s remind the Jordanian king of some plain facts:

  1. Jordan attacked Israel in 1948, together with four Arab armies in an attempt to completely destroy the new Jewish State, and then Jordan illegally seized the eastern half of Jerusalem.
  2. Jordan evicted all Jews from the Old City of Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria in 1949, counter to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
  3. Jordan explicitly denied Jews citizenship when it granted Arabs in its conquered territory citizenship in 1954.
  4. Jordan barred any Jews from even visiting their holy sites when they controlled Jerusalem from 1949-1967.
  5. Jordan attacked Israel again in 1967 and lost the area it had illegally annexed.
  6. Jordan condemned the 2010 rebuilding of a prominent synagogue in Jerusalem that Jordan itself had destroyed in 1949.

Despite Jordan’s complete lack of religious tolerance for Jews and hostility towards Israel, Israel has always sought to maintain religious freedom and coexistence in the holy city:

  1. Israel granted the Jordanian Islamic Waqf custodian rights to the Temple Mount when it reunified Jerusalem in 1967.
  2. Israel enshrined the religious protections of all religions in its laws and safeguarded access to holy sites for all religions.
  3. Israel reiterated the special role that Jordan plays on the Temple Mount in the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty in 1994.
  4. Today, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu repeatedly reiterates that Israel will maintain the “status quo” of the Jordanian Waqf’s anti-Semitic edict of barring Jewish prayer at the Temple Mount.

When the Jordanian king spoke of “rejecting threats to the Holy Places and the Arab character of this Holy City [Jerusalem]” in a speech that was theoretically about tolerance, did he once mention Judaism? Did he make a passing reference to the Jerusalem being the holiest city to only one religion – Judaism? Did he mention that Jerusalem has had a Jewish majority since the 1860s? A passing comment about the Jewish Temples or Western Wall? Or did he define the holy city as solely having an “Arab character”?

In his choice of the phrase “threats to the Holy Places,” was Abdullah suggesting that Jews should no longer be permitted to visit the Temple Mount, or that Israeli police should be prevented from protecting Jewish visitors from Arab harassment and stone throwers, even though the Jordanian peace treaty with Israel specifically gave Jews and Israel both of those rights?

To Abdullah’s comment of gathering “Muslims and Christians everywhere,” was he suggesting gathering 2 billion people against Israel on a trumped up non-existent threat to Islamic holy places? Was Abdullah calling for a global jihad in “twisting” facts to create a religious battle to promote a greater role for himself? Was that his idea of “amplify[ing] the voice of moderation”?

It is Abdullah that must “recognize his own deceit” and “hunger for power and control” of Judaism’s holiest spot in the capital of Israel. His opening line taken from the Jewish bible of “love thy neighbor as thyself” and “showing respect to those different” was a red herring in his call to cast himself as a loving moderate while calling for a global jihad against Israel on a non-existent cause.

The “progressive” voices attacking Jews and the Jewish State are becoming more numerous and growing louder.  Beware of the velvet tongue as much as the iron fist.


Related First One Through articles:

The Arguments over Jerusalem

The Waqf and the Temple Mount

The UN’s Disinterest in Jewish Rights at Jewish Holy Places

The United Nations “Provocation”

Nicholas Kristof’s “Arab Land”

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