President Biden met with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Friday in Washington to discuss the outbreak of Palestinian violence on the Temple Mount. In the official statement following the meeting, the White House affirmed its commitment to Jordanian custodianship of the site:
“The President affirmed his strong support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and cited the need to preserve the historic status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount,” the statement read.
It should be noted that while the statement referred to the site in Arabic, it did not use the Hebrew term “Har Habayit.” The meeting with the king was the second time for Biden since he took office, more than he has met with any other leader in the region.
The most violent Palestinian riots took place during the last eleven days of Ramadan when Jews were prohibited from visiting the site and after the Israeli police had vacated the compound.
The riots coincided with a wave of Palestinian terrorism that saw 19 Israelis murdered.
It continued: “The President also recognized the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s crucial role as the custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.”
Again, the president’s statement referred to Muslim holy sites but did not reference the significance of the Temple Mount to the Jews.
The president’s statement also contradicts the position of the Israeli government. Last week, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett stated, “All decisions regarding the Temple Mount and Jerusalem will be made by the Israeli government, which holds sovereignty over the city, without any foreign considerations.”
Jordan’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, said Tuesday that Israel has no claim to holy sites in Jerusalem, which he said were “occupied Palestinian land.”
In an interview with Jordanian Al-Mamlaka TV, Safadi stated that “Israel has no sovereignty in the Al-Aqsa Mosque — it is a place of Muslim worship. Only the Jordanian Waqf has full authority over the management of the compound.”
Ten days ago, Israel Hayom reported that Jordan submitted a letter to the Biden administration, demanding that the Waqf be given total control over the Temple Mount. They would institute a dress code for non-Muslims and limit visitors to groups no larger than five people. Non-Muslims wishing to visit the site would need to apply in writing in advance and, if approved, would be restricted to tour routes of no more than 500 feet. Jordan is also demanding that the Israel Police no longer be allowed on the Temple Mount, even if rioters attack Jewish worshippers at the Western Wall or visitors to the site itself.
Jordan illegally occupied Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967 and prohibited Jews from visiting any Jewish sites.