The State of Israel must not agree to additional Jordanian construction on the Temple Mount, and certainly not a significant construction like the fifth minaret, as King Abdullah requested in the meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week.
The Palestinian Arabs will see this as weakness and increase the pressure and violence. This will be seen in their eyes as such a symbolic victory that it will inspire them with a sense of victory for many years to come. The Jordanian leadership, will of course, not miss an opportunity to make hay out of it and inflate their stature in the eyes of the Jordanians and Palestinian Arabs.
This will also harm Israel's relations with other Sunni Arab countries, which will see weakness in this agreement. This will damage relations with Morocco and Turkey, who have interests on the Temple Mount, and of course will distance normalization with Saudi Arabia, which is interested in the status on the Temple Mount, and has negotiated on the issue with Israel in the past and continues to raise the issue. Giving into Jordan would weaken the possibility that Israel would be able to grant the Saudis rights on the Temple Mount, something that if done, could strengthen the chance of normalization with them.
It will even weaken Israel in the eyes of the Americans, Europeans, Russians, and Chinese. After all, Jordan, for many years has been using threats and a show of force at Israel's expense. Not only in the internal Jordanian arena, but also in the regional and global arena, and in many cases has humiliated Israel in public and strengthened the status of the king at our expense. This is despite the peace agreement and their great dependence on us, politically, economically and security wise.
This must stop.
Even if the Israeli government and its leader conclude that Jordanian construction will not harm our relations with the Saudis and the other Arab partners, a high price must be demanded from Jordan for every stone moved on the Temple Mount, such as the cessation of incitement against Israel's control of Jerusalem, and the publication of relations and partnerships in the fields of security and economy. This is an important message for the whole world.
There should be no more exploiting Israel's many benefits under the table and denigrating it publicly. It must be examined whether the benefit of this policy does not exceed the damage.
I think the answer is clear, when we demand more, we will get more.
Anyone who claims that the status with Jordan is so important to Israel that the king should be allowed to incite against us, should re-examine this claim. In my opinion, Jordan constantly crosses the line, and this line must be corrected. It is true that the overthrow of the king's rule should not be allowed, but he uses this argument unjustifiably and the price Israel pays is too high.
Precisely now, when Europeans and Americans are getting closer to Israel's position on the Iran issue, we mustn't take our foot off the gas. There will be those who claim that it is possible to compromise and concede from a position of strength. This is simply not true.
Giving up will damage us and this will lead to a series of damage in other arenas. These arenas are major strategic security considerations that are not related to sectoral political considerations.
Among most of the public there is no interest in the Temple Mount and there is a feeling that there will be no harm from Jordanian construction on the Mount, which it also controls de facto. Most of the Israeli public thinks they will not feel the difference.
This is a serious mistake, because from the other side it will look different. The symbolism of the Temple Mount in the eyes of Muslims and Palestinian Arabs is so great, that the smallest victory in their eyes will inspire them to believe in total victory, which will ultimately mean the demise of Jewish sovereignty.
They must not be given such hope. On the contrary, we must work towards a situation where the Palestinians will understand that they have been defeated and have no hope of victory. Only then can we end the conflict. All other attempts in the past has taught us that it would not work any other way.
Alex Selskypreviously served as an advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as a member of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency, a member of the Executive Board of the World Zionist Organization and the CEO of the International Beytenu movement. Today he is a lecturer in the Department of Politics and Communication at Hadassah Academic College in Jerusalem, and a member of the Israeli Victory Project.