Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office recently said, “All decisions regarding the Temple Mount will be made by the Israeli government out of considerations of sovereignty, freedom of religion and security, and not under the pressure of foreign or political factors,” he said. Naturally, Palestinian sympathizers took offense to this straightforward statement.
“Israel has no sovereignty over the holy sites in Jerusalem,” Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in response last night. “Israel has no sovereignty over the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is a Muslim place of worship. Only the Jordanian Waqf has full authority over the management of the compound.… This is occupied Palestinian land.”
Safadi is right about one thing: Jordan does control the Islamic Waqf, which manages the Islamic holy sites such as the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount, as part of its peace treaty with Israel. But he overstepped his bounds in saying Israel has no sovereignty. And he absolutely overplayed his hand when he called Jerusalem “occupied Palestinian land.”
To make a millennia-old history lesson short, this land has been Israel’s since God granted it to them more than 1,000 years before Jesus was born. It wasn’t until 100 years after He returned to heaven that the land was ever known as Palestine, a name the Romans gave the land to spite the Jewish people that had rebelled for their freedom. The name stemmed from the Philistines, Israel’s historical enemies, and its establishment was made possible because of the forceful captivity of Israelites—not the greatest look for someone trying to claim the land is “occupied” by Israel, its original occupants.
Israel must protect itself and its land, so it is not wrong to maintain security measures as it sees fit. While Jordan has authority in Islamic sites, it does not have authority over the land of Israel itself. And neither does, or should, anyone but Israel.