Jordan takes on Trump, Israel and United Nations 
Jordan takes on Trump, Israel and United Nations

Jordan’s decision to ban Jews visiting or praying at a Jewish religious site – Aaron’s tomb situated on Mount Hor – has seriously threatened the Israel-Jordan peace treaty and possibly postponed even further the long-awaited release of President Trump’s plans aimed at ending the 100 years old Arab-Jewish conflict.

The United Nations Security Council could also be faced with having to censure Jordan or avert its gaze from this distinctly disturbing incident of Jew-hatred. 

The Jewish claim to visit and pray on Mount Hor (Hor haHar in Hebrew)  is rooted in the Old Testament Numbers 20: 23-29:

23 And the Lord spake unto Moses and Aaron in mount Hor, by the coast of the land of Edom, saying,

24 Aaron shall be gathered unto his people: for he shall not enter into the land which I have given unto the children of Israel, because ye rebelled against my word at the water of Meribah.

25 Take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and bring them up unto mount Hor:

26 And strip Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son: and Aaron shall be gathered unto his people, and shall die there.

27 And Moses did as the Lord commanded: and they went up into mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation.

28 And Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son; and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came down from the mount.

29 And when all the congregation saw that Aaron was dead, they mourned for Aaron thirty days, even all the house of Israel.

This is not some political claim arising from an undocumented verbal narrative conjured up from centuries-past to suit a particular partisan objective. The Bible is venerated by all three monotheistic faiths and existed long before the Arab-Jewish conflict emerged in modern history.

Article 9 of the 1994 Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty unequivocally states:

1. Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.

2. In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.

3. 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.

Jordanian Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Minister Abdul Nasser Abu al-Basl – who oversees holy sites in Jordan and Jerusalem - reportedly accused Israelis of illegally entering Aaron’s Tomb and decided that Jordan would close it to all tourists with the exception of those who receive prior government approval. 

Abu Basl also toldAl Mamlaka TV, a state-funded channel, that he decided to close the tomb following “Israeli violations” at the site and “the performance of rituals without the knowledge of the ministry.”

Jews and Arabs – Moslem and Christian - need to respect each other’s religious places of pilgrimage and not claim exclusivity of any site they may each have a religious connection with. 

Jordan’s reprehensible action threatens the release of Trump’s deal of the century and Jordan’s possible participation in negotiations with Israel to successfully bring it to fruition. Trump’s displeasure could see financial and security consequences for Jordan. Possible retaliatory action by Israel on Jordan’s Islamic-sites custodianship in Jerusalem could also follow. 

Cooling the situation by allowing Jews to freely access Mount Hor is urgently required.

Taking on Trump, Israel and the UN is madness.

Dry Bones Hor HaHar
Dry Bones Hor HaHarINN:HK

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog