While accepting custodianship over the al-Aqsa Mosque in a deal with the Palestinian Authority in 2013 gave Jordan a position of increasing regional importance, it’s put them in a bit of a nasty position.
With Israeli forces cracking down on the mosque, one of the holiest in Islam, in recent weeks, Jordan is struggling to balance its key alliance with Israel and its custodianship.
It was in that context that Jordan recalled its Ambassador to Israel, protesting that the crackdowns were a violation of the Israel-Jordan peace deal. It’s clear they don’t want the diplomatic row to escalate too far, but they also have to show their custodianship means something.
Making the custodianship a key part of Jordan’s relationship with Israel is a gamble, as Israel’s far-right government is keen for more crackdowns and if given a choice between keeping the decades of peace with Jordan or cracking down on dissent in the occupied territories, they may not choose the way Jordan hopes.
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