By Bassam Tawil, GateStone Institute—
- The signs near the Al-Aqsa mosque were clear: “The cameras will be broken and the hands that hung them will be cut off.”
- Installing video cameras near the Al Aqsa mosque would be a painful thorn in the side of all the terrorist organizations. The immensely successful collaborations in the area — those with Jordan and Israel and Egypt and Israel — serve the security interests of all three countries, as well as the Palestinians who do not wish to be taken over by Islamic extremists even more brutal than the leaders we have now. And that is precisely why Palestinian elements, from the Palestinian Authority to Hamas, were determined to sabotage the project.
- Changing the name of the Temple Mount to Haram al Sharif is another example of the treacherous United Nations’ rewriting of history. The UN move is seen even by us Muslims as a villainous lie that denies not only the historic Jewish presence in Jerusalem, but the history of Christianity as well. Do they really think we are that stupid?
- Regardless of what the treacherous UN thinks, surrendering to Islamist demands will not win the war against terrorism.
An article published in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on April 20, 2016 asked why Jordanian Prime Minister Abdallah Ensour fired Salame Hamad from his post as Minister of the Interior, despite Hamad having restored internal security and causing Jordanians to feel they were living in a country of law and order.
The reason, it turned out, was that he was not decisive enough in dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood. While he did close some of its offices and place strict limitations on the number of Gazans visiting Jordan, he apparently did not deal with the movement emphatically enough, and had even met with its leaders in his office twice.
One of the signs of this weakness in dealing with Islamists was Jordan’s surprising recent backpedaling on an agreement instituted by the Jordanian Wakf (office of religious endowment), which was brokered by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. According to the agreement, video cameras would be installed in Jerusalem at the Al-Aqsa mosque. The footage would be transmitted in real time to both Israeli and the Jordanian authorities. Such an arrangement would improve security in Al-Aqsa, and expose and prevent hostile activities by the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, the Northern Branch of Israel’s Islamic Movement and members of the Hizb al-Tahrir radical Islamist group.
The Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, have, in fact, managed also to foul their relations with Egypt, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. After years of loyalty by Jordanian Islamists to the royal house of the Hashemites, descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (s.a.a.w.), in recent years Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood entered into conflict with the Jordanian government.
Signs of the conflict were quickly evident in threats plastered on Al-Aqsa mosque. They warned against the installation of cameras. The signs were clear: “The cameras will be broken and the hands that hung them will be cut off.”
It is the very existence of the Jordanian Wakf that keeps the Palestinian Authority (PA) — and subversives from the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic Movement, Hamas and Hizb al-Tahrir — from turning the Al-Aqsa mosque into a fulcrum for a religious war between Islam and Judaism, on the false claim that the Jews and the government of Israel are supposedly plotting to destroy the mosque.
The truth is that the cameras would finally prove, once and for all, who the genuine provocateurs are that endanger the mosque. The cameras would expose the hypocrisy of the Palestinian Authority, which pretends to care about Al-Aqsa, while actually simply wanting to keep Jews from having access to the Temple Mount.
That is precisely why the PA, Hamas, the Islamic Movement and Hizb al-Tahrir all object so strongly to the project.
Sadly, the Jordanians since abandoned it. The collaboration between Israel and Jordan had left these extremist Islamic groups sitting on the sidelines, strengthened the appearance of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and, more importantly, reaffirmed Jordan’s role in the religious administration of Al-Aqsa.
Even if, as some claim, the project to install cameras was originally motivated by Israel’s desire keep the mosque safe for its own security, polish its image abroad and demonstrate its sovereignty, Israel also clearly wished to maintain calm and to neutralize the propagandists who were inciting violence and making political capital out of the riots there.
The ability to oversee activities in and around the mosque would also have prevented European governments, such as France and the EU, who meddle in other countries’ business, from escalating the tensions on the Temple Mount in order to promote their own duplicitous political agendas of buying off terrorists. They hope, by attacking Israel, to appease Arabs.
Even if we are not thrilled with the expression “Temple Mount,” referring to the Jews’ Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans in 90 CE, and over the ruins of which the Al Aqsa Mosque was built, the use of the name is nevertheless well-documented in Islamic historiography. Caliph Umar ibn Khattab conquered Jerusalem in 638 AD, and uncovered the inner sanctuary of the Temple, the Jewish Holy of Holies, which the Romans had covered with garbage. He was helped by Qa’ab al-Akhbar, a rabbi who had converted to Islam. It was called the Temple Mount until UNESCO recently changed the name to “Haram al-Sharif,” another example of the treacherous UN’s bald attempt to rewrite history. Changing the name of the Temple Mount to Haram al Sharif is seen even by us Muslims as nothing but a villainous lie that denies not only the historic Jewish presence in Jerusalem, but the historic Christian presence as well. Do they really think we are that stupid?
The United Nations’ surrender to extremist Islam is sweeping not only the Middle East but also Europe, which is currently busy inviting itself to be raped.
Cameras near the Al Aqsa mosque would therefore be a painful thorn in the side of all the terrorist organizations. The immensely successful collaborations in the area — those with Jordan and Israel and Egypt and Israel — serve the security interests of all three countries, as well as the Palestinians who do not wish to be taken over by Islamic extremists even more brutal than the leaders we have now. And that is precisely why Palestinian elements, from the Palestinian Authority to Hamas, were determined to sabotage the project.
The very fact of installing cameras would have dealt a significant blow to Hamas and all the Islamist organizations, international and local, working non-stop to close ranks around the lie that “Al-Aqsa mosque is in danger” because Israel is allegedly planning to destroy it. Installing cameras would have dealt a blow to the followers of the Islamic Movement’s Ra’ed Salah, jailed for incitement, who photoshops pictures of “excavations to destroy the role model” and do their utmost to provoke bloodshed.
Installing cameras would also have dealt a blow to the Palestinian Authority’s demand that east Jerusalem serve as the capital of the future Palestinian state. The fact is that that no city significant to Islam — not Medina, Mecca, Qom, Karbala or Najaf — is the capital of any Muslim country.
If there is ever the genuine wish to have a Palestinian state — and serious doubts exist about that — Ramallah should be our rightful capital. If not, everyone can go home this afternoon; there will not be a solution.
A crucial factor in the equation is the Hashemite dynasty in Jordan. Al-Aqsa mosque is critical for Jordan as part of the religious justification for its kingdom, exactly as the Saudis need religious justification in Mecca and Medina. Jordan’s claim on Al-Aqsa Mosque is also part of its peace agreement with Israel. Hamas’s claim of “extremist Israeli provocation” is even more an attack on Jordan than it is on Israel. The threat to “cut off the hands of whoever installs the cameras” is largely a threat against Jordan, just as it also is a threat against Egypt.
The Egyptians are striking Hamas hard, and the Jordanians did not wait long to close the Muslim Brotherhood’s offices. The vultures are circling; only the Israelis are confused.
Regardless of what the treacherous UN thinks, surrendering to Islamist demands will not win the war against terrorism. Surrendering is, in fact, is the most certain way to encourage terrorism and ensure the fall of Jordan, the rest of the Middle East and the West. Perhaps the next American administration will be wise enough to understand that.