Biden tells Jordanian king that US wants Jordan as Temple Mount authority

White House uses Islamic name for Temple Mount, urges continuation of policies that prohibit Jews from praying at their holiest site.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

President Joe Biden told Jordanian King Abdullah II during a phone call on Monday that the U.S. wants the current status quo at the Temple Mount to be preserved and for the Hashemite kingdom to continue serving as the holy site’s official custodian.

In a readout of the call released by the White House, Biden’s office said that the two leaders discussed efforts to “stem violence” in Israel, Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, and at the flashpoint compound.

Notably, the statement used the Islamic name for the Temple Mount, Haram al-Sharif, as opposed to the name used by much of the Western world.

“The President welcomed recent steps to reduce tensions and expressed his hope that the final week of Ramadan will pass peacefully,” the statement read. There was no acknowledgement of the violent Arab rioting at the Temple Mount or the recent rocketfire from Gaza and Lebanon on Israel, which security officials have attributed to the clashes at the site.

Biden emphasized “the need to preserve the historic status quo” at the site and “recognized the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan’s role as the custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.”

The statement’s referral to the Temple Mount as an exclusively Islamic holy site is significant, particularly because there was no mention of the extensive Jewish historical and religious ties to the site nor that the current status quo prohibits Jews from praying there.

“Both his Majesty and President Biden stressed the importance of continued coordination and work on all levels to prevent a repeat of attacks on the city of Jerusalem and its holy sites and its people that would derail the chances of achieving peace and push towards more tensions,” read a statement from Jordanian state-owned news agency Petra.

Jordan has taken a harsh public stance towards Israel during the last few weeks regarding large-scale arrests on the Temple Mount, placing the blame for violent rioting on the Jewish State.

Last week, Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said that he “saluted” Palestinians and Waqf employees who threw rocks, bottles, and other projectiles at the “Zionist sympathizers defiling the Al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation government.”

Khasawneh’s incendiary speech sparked outrage from Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Naftali Bennett.