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Dear Abdullah; Yours, Binyamin

reposted from Israel National News
10/26/2014

by Yisrael Medad

What follows is a letter Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could, and should, send to the King on the other side of the Jordan River.

Dear Abdullah ibn Al-Hussein II,

Greetings to the ruler of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the land across the Jordan River which your great-grandfather, Mecca-born Abdullah I, invaded in November 1920, becoming its Emir in 1921 and its king only in 1946. He then invaded the area west of the Jordan River, that region of the Palestine Mandate that was to become the Arab State, and illegally annexed it in April 1950, an act no other country recognized except Great Britain.

That ancient land you rule was the territory of two and a half tribes of the Jewish people and, as recorded in the Book of Joshua 13 was called the land "east of the Jordan". You may even know that the Mishnah of Shvi'it 9:2 notes that a special commandment, to make agricultural produce ownerless, applies only to the three regions of the Land of Israel, one of them in the area across the River Jordan. So we share a territorial heritage.

True, the Hashemite custody of Jerusalem and the holy places started on March 11, 1924, during that eight month period when your great-grandfather was a self-declared Caliph. In March of 2013, you signed an agreement with the head of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas and you recognized that "the State of Palestine['s] territory encompasses the land within which Al Masjid Al Aqsa (Al Haram Al Sharif) is situated".

I am aware that in that agreement you define those holy sites as "Al Masjid Al Aqsa with its 144 dunums... 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". Between you and me, that is a bit expansionist writing "attached" and "tied-up" and even "environs" not to mention "pilgrims".

More ominous, however, are recent statements emanating from you personally and from your official representatives.

Your UN Ambassador, Dina Kawar, told its Security Council last Tuesday that "illegal and unilateral Israeli measures could lead to other 'bloody' wars". Your Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh earlier that week also urged the UN Security Council and the EU, as well, to "put pressure on Israel to halt its violations against Al Haram Al Sharif compound in Jerusalem". He quoted you as directing your government "to take all necessary measures, including legal action, to respond". Ambassador of Jordan to the Palestine Authority Khalid al-Shawabka maintained that "the Al-Aqsa Mosque and Jerusalem are red lines" and what is going on in Jerusalem is "unacceptable."

I know that the employees of the Palestinian ministry of endowment who work in the Al-Aqsa compound receive their salaries from Jordan and follow Jordanian rules. Jordan, I am aware, invests 7 million dinars ($9 million) every year to developmental projects in Jerusalem through the Palestinian ministry of endowment. In addition, you fund projects at the Al-Aqsa Mosque reaching about $3.5 million at your own expense.

My friend, I would hope that you recall the content of Article 9 of the peace treaty that exists between our two countries. If you cannot remember, allow me to quote a few lines from it because I think that it is important to remind you of our shared obligations and responsibilities at this time when it could be thought that Jordan is inciting against Israel. That article reads, in part,

"Each party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance…Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem…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".

I am sure, Sir, that you do not intend to violate the terms of that peace treaty, signed by my predecessor, Yitzhak Rabin, and by your father. Even to demand that our Knesset not pass a bill related to the Temple Mount is unacceptable interfering. I hope that you have no intention of unilaterally establishing a new interpretation of that article relating to the historical and holy sites in Israel's capital. Moreover, Jews are only campaigning just like Muslims do at the Cordoba Church.

For example, in the afore-mentioned agreement signed by you and Mahmoud Abbas, I read in Article 3.1 that "The Government of the State of Palestine... shall have the right to exercise sovereignty over all parts of its territory, including Jerusalem". Sir, at the present Israel exercises full sovereignty over Jerusalem, our capital, a city with over 3000 years of Jewish history. David's throne was here and that of his son, Solomon. It was later ruled by Herod. Shimon Bar-Kochba reestablished it as our capital during his revolt against Rome in 132 CE just as Judah Macabee, on the 25th of Kislev in 164 BCE, re-consecrated the Temple in his successful revolt against the Greek-Syrians.

On the Temple Mount, valiant warriors of the Jewish people fought the might of invading armies. Abraham, tested by God, was prepared to sacrifice his son Yitzhak there. True, the Quran at Surah 37, verses 100-111, mentions the dhabih (sacrifice) but only ambiguously refers to a "son" and so to believe that boy to have been Ishmael is problematic. On the Temple Mount existed for centuries two Temples although some of your fellow religionists engage in denial of the indisputable fact.

My friend, this past week I informed you that Israel has no intention of changing the status quo on the Temple Mount. I will continue the policy to forbid Jews from openly praying within the Temple Mount compound nor will there be archaeological excavations there. This, as you know, is actually against the laws of the state of Israel.

I am sure you were informed that I told reporters after my return from Washington last month, "as for the Temple Mount there exists a status quo ...[and] I do not suggest that we begin to ignite a religious war here, yes?" Is that declaration, admittedly quite a disappointment to my supporters, not sufficiently obsequious for you?

Nevertheless, Sir, I do demand that you halt these verbal attacks on Israel by you and your appointees. Abbas called on Arabs to use "all means necessary" to confront Jews at the Temple Mount. I urge you to rein in Abbas and have him refrain from such incendiary rhetoric.

After all, there was another agreement back in 1922, one of genuine international legal standing, which declared "In the territories lying between the Jordan and the eastern boundary of Palestine as ultimately determined, the Mandatory shall be entitled... to postpone or withhold application of such provisions of this mandate".

Would you wish that I seek an end of that postponement? Should I point to the fact that your country is part of historic "Palestine" and that if there is to be territorial readjustments and the drawing of new boundaries surely your country should be part of the equation of land mass?

The prophet Isaiah spoke of the Jewish Temple as being a "house of prayer for all peoples". Let us hearken to those sentiments and stop this extremist talk.

 

 

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