Agreement Between Jordan, Palestinian Authority Officially Recognizes Jordan’s Custodianship Over Jerusalem’s Holy Places

June 25, 2013

(HT: Memri / Other)

Introduction: On March 31, 2013, an agreement that came as a surprise was signed between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Jordan, which solidified Jordan’s custodianship of the Islamic holy places in Jerusalem. The daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that the agreement had been signed in total secrecy in the presence of Jordan’s King ‘Abdallah II, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and the PA and Jordanian ministers of religious endowments.

The agreement states that “His Majesty King ‘Abdallah II, as the custodian of the Jerusalem holy sites, will exert all possible efforts to preserve [these] sites, especially Al-Haram Al-Sharif [The Al-Aqsa Mosque]… and to represent their interests.” The agreement states further that King ‘Abdallah is responsible for ensuring respect for the holy places, guaranteeing the Muslims’ freedom of movement to and from the sites, ensuring their maintenance and representing their interests in the international arena.

In practice, the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan has had stewardship over the holy places in Jerusalem since 1924. Even after the Six-Day War and Israel’s conquest of East Jerusalem, Jordan continued to play a religious role in Jerusalem’s holy places via the East Jerusalem Waqf, which it manages.

In 1988 Jordan did disengage itself from the West Bank by “severing its legal and administrative ties” with it, but this disengagement never applied to the holy places in Jerusalem. In 1994 this custodianship was reinforced via a Jordanian declaration that emphasized the kingdom’s historic role in Jerusalem’s holy places, as well as by the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan where Israel recognizes Jordan’s special status in Jerusalem.

In June 2013, Hamas Prime Minister Isma’il Haniya disclosed that Egyptian President Muhammad Mursi plans to hold an international conference in Cairo on the issue of Jerusalem. He added that the issue of Jerusalem was prominent in talks that took place this month in Cairo between Mursi and Hamas representatives, and also in talks between the heads of Hamas and Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan.

The liberal website elaph.com assessed that Mursi has decided to convene the conference in response to the PA-Jordan agreement and with the aim of circumventing it, and that this move could negatively affect Egypt-Jordan relations.

The agreement, then, does not alter the decades-long status quo, under which the Jordanian Waqf manages the affairs of Jerusalem’s Islamic holy places in coordination with Israel. Nevertheless, the agreement reinforces Jordan’s status in the holy places in a manner that may restrict Israel’s freedom of action in Jerusalem.

As the agreement does not constitute a tangible change to the status quo, what then were the motivations for its signing? This report will review these motivations as presented by Palestinian and Jordanian senior officials, commentators and journalists, and they include the desire to step up Jordanian-Palestinian coordination in order to “save” Jerusalem from “The city’s Judaization and settlement construction within it”; bypass various parties such as Qatar, Hamas and the Islamic Movement in Israel, who are attempting to usurp Jordan and the PA’s role vis-à-vis the holy sites; prepare the ground for a PA-Jordan confederation, and the US intention to reinforce Jordan’s role in future negotiations between Israel and the PA.Read the full report here.


Beware My Zionist Earthquakes!

June 2, 2011

From Iran’s FARS “news” agency:

A prominent Palestinian activist cautioned on Wednesday that the Zionist regime of Israel is likely to attempt to destroy the Al Aqsa Mosque through an artificial earthquake, and urged all Islamic countries to show an immediate and strong reaction to the Israeli plans against the first Muslim Keble.

“The Zionist regime authorities may find control over the Al Aqsa Mosque or issue the order for its destruction through an artificial quake which now seems to be the case, given the Zionists’ continued diggings and excavation operations under the Al Aqsa Mosque,” Khater noted.

You would think that they could come up with something more original. Aftrall, the “artificial quake” threat has been around for years.

In 2009, an “expert on Israeli affairs” said that Israel was going to create an earthquake in the Negev or the Red Sea in order to destroy Al Aqsa.

And a Hamas MP made the same accusation in 2007.


Happy Reunified Jerusalem Day

June 1, 2011

Today (28 of Iyar), as you know is Jerusalem Day (44). The day, that after much blood and battle, we managed to reclaim and reunite the City of Jerusalem after 19 years of Jordanian rule during which Jews were expelled from Arab-occupied Jerusalem, and Jewish religious sites were desecrated and destroyed.
It has been 44 years since we liberated the occupied half of Jerusalem and turned Jerusalem into a city with freedom of worship for all.
Happy Jerusalem Day.

The Jewish people have lost possession of the the Temple Mount three times since King David purchased the site 30 centuries ago. Only once, was the site given away voluntarily, when Moshe Dayan gave it away 44 years ago. Moshe Dayan will go down in history not as a hero, but as the man who gave away the Temple Mount, providing Barack Obama and the Muslims the opportunity to make Jerusalem an Issue:

……….”It’s true,” Eldad said, “that the original sin was when the Jewish People, immediately after the Six Day War in 1967, ceded its hold on the Temple Mount in an unholy alliance between the Chief Rabbinate and Moshe Dayan – each side for its own reasons – but now the danger is that the Arab sovereignty on the Temple Mount will spill over to the Western Wall plaza, and from there to other places.”

Then-Defense Minister Dayan, just days after Israel’s liberation of the Old City, informed the Muslims running the Temple Mount that they could continue to run the mosques there – and later went further by preventing Jewish prayer all over the Mount.

“It was evident that if we did not prevent Jews from praying in what was now a mosque compound,” Dayan later wrote, “matters would get out of hand and lead to a religious clash… As an added precaution, I told the chief of staff to order the chief army chaplain to remove the branch office he had established in the building which adjoins the mosque compound.”Source Israel National News


Shooting al-Aqsa

May 20, 2011

Explosive composition.
It’s Rememberance Day in Israel today, and the wire services are full of solemn memorial services to the Israeli victims of terrorism [Ed.:–Corrected w/ apologies for the mix-up]. Including this shot, taken by AP stringer Sebastian Scheiner:

With the Dome of the Rock Mosque in the background, Israeli soldiers empty their rifles after a ceremony for Israel’s annual Memorial Day at a military cemetery on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, Monday, May 9, 2011. Israel marked its Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of militant attacks Monday, with ceremonies and a wailing siren that brought the country to a standstill in two minutes of silence. (AP Photo/Sebestian Scheiner)

Notice the composition carefully — The soldiers, firing their rifles in rememberance of those who lost their lives to terrorists over the years, are superimposed over the golden Dome of the Rock at al-Aqsa Mosque, a source of frequent outbursts of anti-Jewish anger and terrorism by the muslim world. The implication of this particular visual alignment is even stranger when one considers the fact that the graveyard at which this honor guard is performing their duties is nowhere near al-Aqsa.
Take a look at the AFP shot below, which illustrates exactly how far apart these two locations really are:

Notice the tiny golden circle there?
Yeah, that’s the Dome of the Rock. And from where these soldiers are standing, it really is quite a distance away.

Israeli soldiers unload their rifles after a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers at the military cemetery on Mount of Olives overlooking the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem on May 9, 2011. Remembrance Day is followed immediately by the 63rd anniversary of the creation of Israel in 1948 according to the Jewish calendar. AFP PHOTO/GALI TIBBON (Photo credit should read GALI TIBBON/AFP/Getty Images)

So why did our AP stringer go through so much effort to zoom the dome into the background of their shot? I can safely assume that it’s not an innocent accident, as the Dome has very clearly been purposefully enlarged via zoom lens to fit exactly where it did. So if it’s not a mistake, why was the photo arranged the way it was?
Every picture tells a story, after all. And from where I’m sitting, this particular story seems to be ginned up to aggravate the Muslim world, and to enflame the passions of Islamic Rage Boys everywhere.
Which makes me wonder: Is the Associated Press really reporting the news in Israel these days? Or are they trying to invent it?


Much Mass Media Coverage of Israel-Palestinian Issues Is Propaganda, Not Journalism

March 21, 2011
The father and brothers of Ruth Fogel comfort each other
during the joint funeral of their daughter and sister,
her husband Ehud and their children, 11-year-old Yoav, 4-year-old Elad, and 3-month-old Hadas,
in Jerusalem, on 13 March 2011.
The Jewish couple and three of their children were stabbed to death in bed
in the Israeli Jewish West Bank settlement of Itamar. (Credit: EPA)
So constant are the lies told in mass media coverage of Israel-Palestinian issues that it is hardly worthwhile to critique individual articles any more.

Following the horrendous murder of the Fogel family, a number of Internet — but not print — writers have pointed out that various mass media institutions have either not reported the killings at all, only minimally did so, didn’t gives the ages of the children killed, or buried the story amidst a much longer explanation that the settlements are terrible and the settlers are bad people (who deserve it?).
Equally dismaying is the disinterest in getting right even the most basic facts. Consider this AP story, remembering that AP now provides most international coverage for almost all American newspapers today.
When you read something like this the conclusion is inescapable that the reporters involved are pushing a specific political agenda, deliberately twisting or leaving out material. Part of the evidence for this is that every distortion, mistake, and example of slanting is always entirely against Israel.
The article claims:

“Palestinian opposition to settlement construction on lands they want for a future state has brought negotiations to a virtual standstill over the past two years, with Palestinians refusing to negotiate directly with Israel as long as it persists.”

In fact, the Palestinian Authority walked out of talks in January 2009 over the Israel-Hamas war that began after Hamas abandoned the ceasefire and attacked Israel with a barrage of rockets and mortars. Construction was not an issue until President Barack Obama made it his central theme. Then, Israel froze construction on settlements for nine months yet during that period — until conveniently a few days before the end — the PA still refused to talk.
So it is Palestinian opposition to negotiations that has brought negotiations to a virtual standstill.
The phrase “settlement construction” is also misleading. Many (most?) readers probably believe that Israel is still building new settlements — I know this because people keep claiming this to me — something not true since 1993, before today’s first-year college students were even born. The construction of apartments on existing settlements — which is the issue — is not the same thing as expanding the size of existing settlements or building completely new ones.
Finally, a minor point for some but one that made my blood boil, is this statement:

“The Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, a mostly defunct Palestinian militant group, took responsibility for the killings. But it was not clear if the group really was responsible because it frequently takes credit for attacks it didn’t commit in a bid to raise its profile.”

So, even if the Brigades did take responsibility, the AP goes out of its way to assure us that they are probably innocent. Moreover, by not mentioning that the Brigades are an integral part of Fatah, which runs the Palestinian Authority, is dishonest. Reading about some unknown or “independent” terrorist group is not the same for a reader as being informed that terrorists who proudly said they murdered three infants are members of the same party as Palestinian Authority “president” Mahmoud Abbas.
And, of course, the Brigades are in no way “mostly defunct.” That is something merely made up in this article.
One reason this makes me angry is that I was just involved in a court case as a consultant. The Palestinian Authority, which was the defendant, claimed that it had nothing to do with the Brigades and thus in no way responsible for its terrorism. I researched this and came up with much proof to the contrary.
But the item I thought most cogent is this: If you go to the Brigades’ official site it says in Arabic that the Brigades are part of Fatah.
Not too hard to find out the truth, is it?

Sun, March 20, 2011 | The Rubin Report | By Barry Rubin


Iranian Islamicists threaten to destroy Esther’s tomb

December 15, 2010

A group of Islamists have threatened to destroy the tomb of Queen Esther in western Iran if Israel damages the al-Aksa mosque in Jerusalem.
The Islamists, members of the student Islamist militia at Bu-Ali-Sina university of Hamedan, were identified by the Iranian Mehr news agency, according to the French news agency AFP. They demonstrated Sunday at the tomb.
“Muslims beware that they have started the destruction of Al-Aksa mosque while their second sacred site in Iran, the Esther and Mordecai tomb, is at peace and no Muslims make a sound,” the protesters said in a statement.
Several construction and archeological projects on the Temple Mount have led Muslims to charge that Israel is purposely putting the al-Aksa Mosque in danger.
Up to 25,000 Jews live in Iran. Pilgrims regularly visit the Esther shrine.
Esther is the heroine of the Purim story, where she convinces her husband, King Achashverosh, to allow the Jews to defend themselves and live throughout the Persian Empire.  

Burial Tomb of Queen Esther and Mordechai – Outside View

Sen. John Kerry calls for Israel to cede Golan Heights and East Jerusalem

November 30, 2010

On a February trip to the Middle East, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-MA) told Qatari leaders that the Golan Heights should be returned to Syria, that a Palestinian capital should be established in East Jerusalem as part of the Arab-Israeli peace process, and that he was “shocked” by what he saw on a visit to Gaza.
Kerry discussed the Israeli-Palestinian peace process in a visit to Qatar during separate meetings with Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani and the Emir of Qatar, Hamad bin Khalifa, as revealed by the disclosure of diplomatic cables by the website WikiLeaks.
The emir told Kerry to focus on Syria as the path toward resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Kerry agreed with the emir that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a man who wants change but pointed out that his arming of Hezbollah and interference in Lebanese politics were unhelpful. Kerry said that Assad “needs to make a bolder move and take risks” for peace, and that he should be “more statesman-like.” Kerry also agreed with the emir that the Golan Heights should be given back to Syria at some point.
“The Chairman added that Netanyahu also needs to compromise and work the return of the Golan Heights into a formula for peace,” the diplomatic cable reported.
As for the peace process, Kerry defended the Obama administration’s drive to use indirect proximity talks (which were only being discussed at that time) as a stepping stone to direct talks between the Israelis and the Palestinians. He said the two sides should first agree on the amount of land to be swapped and then work on borders, followed by settlements.
Kerry also said that final agreement would have to include a Palestinian state with a capital in East Jerusalem.

“Any negotiation has its limits, added Senator Kerry, and we know for the Palestinians that control of Al-Aqsa mosque and the establishment of some kind of capital for the Palestinians in East Jerusalem are not negotiable,” the cable stated, summarizing the meeting with the emir. “For the Israelis, the Senator continued, Israel’s character as a Jewish state is not open for negotiation. The non-militarization of an eventual Palestinian state and its borders can nonetheless be resolved through negotiation.”
In a separate meeting the day before with the prime minister, Kerry resisted the Qatari leader’s assertion that Hamas was ready to accept the existence of the State of Israel, but he agreed that urgent action was needed to rebuild Gaza.
According to the leaked diplomatic cable, the prime minister told Kerry, “We need to broker a quick reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah and move forward quickly on rebuilding Gaza… Senator Kerry asserted that HBJ [Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani] was preaching to the converted and told the PM he was ‘shocked by what I saw in Gaza.'”
In a telling exchange at the end of his meeting with the emir, the Qatari ruler gave Kerry some advice for dealing with the Iranian government.
“The Amir closed the meeting by offering that based on 30 years of experience with the Iranians, they will give you 100 words. Trust only one of the 100,” the cable said.