(Central Israel) — Radical Islamists are trying hard to ignite a “Third Intifada,” engulf Jerusalem in violence, and blow up relations between Israel and Jordan, twenty years after the two countries courageously signed a peace treaty.
A close look at events here in recent weeks suggest that without much prayer for the peace of Jerusalem, wise leadership, patient diplomacy, and the grace of God, the Radicals could very well succeed.
But they haven’t yet. With violence in and around Jerusalem spiking, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Amman on Thursday evening for emergency talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Secretary of State John Kerry. The goal: to find a way to de-escalate tensions — quickly and carefully.
The three leaders also held a conference call with Egyptian President al-Sisi.
Initial reports indicate the meetings went well. All four men know the most grave threats to the region are Iran and ISIS and that they need to work together to survive. None want to allow the Radicals divide them at this critical time. But each knows events could spin out of control.
- Please keep praying for peace.
- Pray for these leaders and their families, for wisdom and protection.
- Pray also for the Lord to show Christians how best to serve these leaders and help them work for peace and security for everyone in the epicenter, Jews, Muslims and Christians.
In the meantime, here is a timeline of the latest developments:
October — Anti-Israeli riots and violence erupt on Temple Mount.
- October 8th — “With the opening of the Temple Mount to visitors…dozens of masked Palestinians threw rocks and shot fireworks towards the police forces stationed in the Mughrabi Gate area, lightly injuring three officers,” reported the Jerusalem Post.
- October 29th — Terrorists attempted to assassinate a Jewish activist well-known for wanting Israel to build a Third Temple.
- October 30th — Israeli officials then briefly closed the Temple Mount to all visitors to reestablish order, while Fatah declared a “day of rage” in Jerusalem. “Police commander Edri also decided to restrict Friday Muslim prayers on the Temple Mount to men over the age of 50 and women of all ages,” reported Haaretz. “His decision was based on intelligence information that Palestinian youths intend to disturb the peace at the conclusion of the prayers.”
- October and November — Increased Palestinian terrorist attacks on Israelis, using knives and cars.
November 1st — “Netanyahu to MKs: Show restraint on Temple Mount issue.”
November 4th — Palestinian President Abbas says closure of Temple Mount “a declaration of war.”
November 5th — The government of Jordan suddenly recalled its Ambassador to Israel.
- “Jordan has expressed growing alarm over Israeli actions in Jerusalem culminating in last week’s one-day closure of the sacred compound housing Al Aqsa mosque — a move that infuriated the Jordanian king, who is its official custodian,” reported Reuters. “Tensions over the compound, the third holiest site in Islam and the holiest place in Judaism, have fueled daily clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians in Jerusalem in recent weeks. Jordan’s government spokesman, Mohammad al-Momani, said Israeli security forces raided the compound’s main mosque on Wednesday, describing this as ‘a dangerous escalation.'”
- Haaretz reported: “Jordan’s ambassador was not recalled on a whim. The move was coordinated with the United States, in talks held in Paris between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh, and follows a long list of what Jordan says are Israeli efforts to Judaize all of Jerusalem and seize control of the holy sites on the Temple Mount. The formal explanation for Jordan’s move is derived from Israel’s obligation to consider Jordan’s preferred status with regard to the holy places, and coordinate any steps taken there with Amman.”
November 6th — Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called King Abdullah II to reassure him that the status quo agreement with Jordan regarding the Temple Mount would not change. “Netanyahu undertook to ensure the maintenance of the status quo on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem during a phone conversation with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Thursday,” reported Haaretz. “The phone call was initiated by Netanyahu. A statement published by the Prime Minister’s Office said that Netanyahu also undertook to preserve the special status of Jordan regarding the Temple Mount and the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, as specified in the peace agreement between the two countries. “Both leaders called for the immediate cessation of violent actions and incitement,’ Netanyahu’s bureau said. During the conversation, King Abdullah told Netanyahu that Jordan stands in absolute opposition to any action that infringes on the holiness of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, endangers it, or presents a change in the status quo. The Jordanian news agency Petra reported that Netanyahu promised Abdullah he would move to decrease the tensions in Jerusalem.”
November 9th — King Abdullah II canceled Jordan’s participation in a planned event to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty. The King “ordered two of his ministers — the Minister of Water and the Minister of Energy — and some 40 other Jordanian officials not to attend the 20th anniversary ceremony which is scheduled to be held in the Jordan Valley between the two countries,” reported
November 9th — Jordan’s Prime Minister ruled out the notion of canceling or ending the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, but condemned Israeli actions that appear to be changing the status quo agreement regarding the Dome of the Rock and the Islamic religious sites there. “The ongoing tension over Jerusalem’s flashpoint al-Aqsa Mosque compound is inflicting a ‘stab wound’ on the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said on Sunday, though he said Amman would not cancel the 20-year agreement,” reported the Times of Israel. “Israel and Jordan are committed to peace and to respect the peace treaty, but this commitment is not just applicable to one side, it is a commitment by both,” Ensour told reporters in Amman. “Ensour said Israel’s actions at the site were the result of a ‘clear’ policy aimed at changing the decades-long status quo at the site, which is holy to both Muslims and Jews,” noted the Times. “‘The Jordanian government condemns, in the strongest possible terms, the events of recent weeks in Jerusalem, which are not the result of administrative errors or acts by a few extremists but rather a clear government plan to change the realities at the holy places,’ he continued. Months of unrest in and around the plaza have been triggered by Palestinian fears that Israel was preparing to change the status quo to allow Jews to pray there — a suggestion that has been repeatedly rejected by Israel.”
November 12th — The King met with Palestinian Authority leader Abbas and condemns Israel. “Jordan’s King Abdullah II met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, after which the leader of the Hashemite Kingdom issued harsh criticism against the ‘utterly condemnable’ Israeli ‘provocations’ at the Temple Mount,” reported the Times of Israel, based on Jordanian news services. “‘The King reiterated that Israel’s repeated aggressions, provocative actions in Jerusalem, and targeting of the holy sites, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Al Haram Sharif, were utterly condemnable, adding that the continuation of the settlement policy will undermine all efforts to revive the peace efforts,’ a statement published by the official Petra News Agency said.”
November 13th — Netanyahu met in Amman with King Abdullah and Secretary Kerry.
- “His Majesty King Abdullah on Thursday hosted a trilateral meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to cool tempers arising as a result of Israeli policies in Jerusalem, which Amman has labelled as ‘provocative,'” reported Agence France Presse and the Jordan Times. “Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi joined the Amman meeting over the phone. According to a Royal Court statement, the three sides also discussed ways to create a climate encouraging the revival of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. Netanyahu, the statement said, ‘reasserted Israel’s commitment to keep the status quo in Jerusalem’s holy sites without change… and respect Jordan’s Hashemite leaders’ historical role as custodians of holy sites in Jerusalem.’ During the meeting, His Majesty emphasised Jordan’s stand on the situation in Jerusalem, reiterating a call on Tel Aviv to take practical steps to keep the situation there intact, especially at Al Aqsa Mosque and its vicinity. Earlier this month, Jordan recalled its ambassador from Tel Aviv to protest Israeli practices in the holy city, particularly the repeated violations of the sanctity of Al Haram Al Sharif compound, which houses Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine to Muslims all over the world.”
- “Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not attend a meeting among Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II,” reported the Times of Israel. “Kerry said it was ‘not the right moment’ for Abbas and Netanyahu to meet. Kerry said Abbas told him would do ‘everything possible to prevent [further] violence.’ ‘We must create a climate where we can move forward in a positive and constructive way,’ Kerry said at a press conference with the Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh following the summit. ‘There is an urgent need to address these greatest tensions, and an imperative need to uphold the status quo at the Temple Mount,’ he said, adding that the sides must take ‘take affirmative steps to prevent violence and incitement.’….Kerry also praised the ‘enormously constructive role of Jordan in trying to resolve these challenges.’ He said Israel and Jordan, which has custodial rights at the Temple Mount, had also agreed to take steps to ‘de-escalate the situation’ in Jerusalem and to ‘restore confidence.'”
November 14th — Israel’s Ambassador to Jordan praised the King as a moderate leader in the region. “Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Daniel Nevo lauded the Hashemite monarch King Abdullah II on Friday morning as a vital moderator in the region at a time when Israeli-Palestinian tensions were flaring,” reported the Jerusalem Post. “Israel recognizes the importance of King Abdullah as the custodian of Islam’s holy sites in Jerusalem,” Nevo told Army Radio. “We have never renounced this [position] – on the contrary, we try to clarify it and collaborate as much a possible….[Abdullah] is very significant in Jordan and to the world, because the king is very harshly criticized when there is tumult.”
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