Israel’s Mossad Director Yossie Cohen and National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabat were able to avert violent blow-ups around the Gaza Strip and Temple Mount’s Golden Gate by intense negotiations with Cairo and Amman over week’s end.
DEBKAfile’s Exclusive sources disclose the content of the
agreements and understandings procured by the two Israeli officials for cooling
the two flashpoints:
- Jordan, which owns a custodial role for Temple Mount’s Muslim sites, accepted Israel’s position against converting the Golden Gate (Gate of Mercy) into a mosque or place of Muslim prayer. At the same time, Israel agreed to keep archeologists from researching the ancient double-arched gate, which is believed to stand on the same site since the days of the First Jewish Temple. This met the demands of Israeli Arabs and the Tanzim-Fatah faction of the Palestinian Authority.
- If Jordan wanted to push the Palestinians of Jerusalem into a clash with Israel over Temple Mount, Israel was ready and would resist any attempt to change the status quo which governs Jerusalem’s shrines.
- Israel, for its part, agreed to open the Golden Gate, which was blocked up and shuttered off and on for centuries, to visitors. At length, Amman accepted Israel’s position, Therefore, Al Aqsa worship last Friday, although expected to be chaotic and violent, passed without incident, after Jordanian government and security officials took a hand in keeping the peace.
The Palestinian Hamas terrorist movement, which governs the Gaza Strip, gave in to the demands put before them by three Egyptian intelligence generals who had been shuttling between Tel Aviv and Gaza City to broker a halt in the escalating violence. Hamas agreed to deconflict the Gaza-Israeli border in five stages, after more than a year that was consumed with one form of terror after another.
- An unfamiliar calm descended on the border on Saturday night, March 9, after the rampaging mobs were absent for the first time in weeks.
- Hamas undertook in the second stage to halt the explosive balloon assault on Israel civilian areas. This harassment would die out day by day, said its authors, until it disappeared.
- The gangs responsible for burning tires to throw up clouds of choking black smoke over the border has been disbanded.
- Hamas guaranteed to halt rocket and mortar attacks on Israel from Gaza and also prevent other organizations from conducting these attacks.
- Mohammed Al-Amadi, Qatar’s ambassador to Gaza, is due to arrive in the territory. But he won’t deliver the $15m remittance he has paid out in recent months, but instead, present Hamas rulers with a plan for creating jobs for the distressed population. The program was compiled in cooperation with Nickolay Mladenov, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, and is financed by the oil emirate.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly added his signature to the two accords that were negotiated by Cohen and Ben-Shabat. They are already being implemented.