Palestinian protestors stormed through the Gate of Mercy recently, located in the northeastern part of the Temple Mount, forcing it open. Israel had sealed the gate in 2003 due to illegal activities conducted there by a Hamas-linked group. Yoni Ben Menachem believes Jordan is behind the riots and that it wishes to take control of the compound just inside the gate.
According to the 1994 peace agreement between Jordan’s King Hussein and Israel, Jordan is the guardian of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. King Abdullah of Jordan is afraid he might lose this status as a result of [the Trump administration’s expected Israel-Palestinian peace proposal]. The effort to take control of the Temple Mount is a message to the U.S. president and the Israeli government showing that Jordan will not agree to any harm being done to its status [vis-à-vis Jerusalem].
Jordan [may also fear] that Israel will take it by surprise and establish a synagogue near the Gate of Mercy as the publication of the Trump deal draws closer, in order to create facts on the ground. Jordan and the Palestinians seek to limit the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount. . . . Therefore, King Abdullah has decided to preempt Israel and to establish [his own] facts on the ground. His main concern is that it will be alleged that while the Hashemite Kingdom was serving as guardian of the mosque of al-Aqsa, Israel managed to take physical hold of it.