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‘Safeguarding Jerusalem shrines not urgent response, but consistent policy’

MPs call for expelling Israeli ambassador, reconsidering peace treaty

By JT - Aug 19,2019 - Last updated at Aug 19,2019

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi and Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh address MPs during an emergency session on Monday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Safeguarding Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is not a response for a pressing issue, but a consistent policy and diligent work, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi told MPs on Monday during the Lower House's urgent session held to discuss the recent Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque.

The Kingdom’s efforts in that regard consist of direct confrontations with occupation authorities as well as employing Jordan's international relations to build a global stance to pressure Israel into ending its violations and breaches of the international law, Safadi added.

The foreign minister reiterated His Majesty King Abdullah’s position that Jerusalem “is a red line” and that the custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is a duty entrusted to Jordan, which utilises all capacities to fulfil it.

He also affirmed that Jordan is addressing the continuous Israeli provocations against Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif in accordance with its national constants and unaltered stances, noting that the Foreign Ministry has summoned the Israeli ambassador in Amman to convey a "decisive message" for his country.

The message included a demand for an immediate halt to Israeli violations and attempts to alter the historical and legal status quo in Jerusalem, as well as condemnation of Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan’s comments suggesting a shift in Al Aqsa Mosque’s status quo to allow Jews to pray at the Muslim holy site.

The ministry also reiterated that the entirety of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, with its total area of 144 dunums, is a place of worship for Muslims only, expressing its condemnation and rejection of shutting the mosque’s doors, preventing worshippers from entry or imposing any restrictions on Al Aqsa under any pretext or circumstance, the top diplomat stressed.

Jordan also emphasised the need for Israel to uphold its obligations as an occupying power, in accordance with international and humanitarian law, he added.

Safadi also assured deputies of the government’s intensified efforts to expose Israeli violations to the international community, the latest of which was Sunday’s meeting with EU ambassadors in Amman over the recent Israeli escalation in the holy city.

Safadi also referred to the government’s efforts aiming to support Jerusalemites, including the easing of procedures for the renewal and issuance of their passports, among others.

During the session attended by Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs Musa Maaytah and Minister of State for Media Affairs Jumana Ghunaimat, President of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (APU) and Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh urged the government to convey to Israel that its ongoing aggression against Jerusalem and Al Aqsa Mosque jeopardise peace.

Deputies voted for a number of proposals during the emergency session, drafted by the House’s Palestine Committee, including the rejection of the spatial and temporal division of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif in violation of international law, and a commendation of the Jordanian diplomacy, under His Majesty King Abdullah’s leadership, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

The recommendations also included expelling the Israeli ambassador to the Kingdom, the withdrawal of the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv and reconsidering the Wadi Araba Peace Treaty, Petra added.

The council also endorsed stopping all forms of normalisation with the Israeli occupation, keeping the Bab Al Rahma (Gate of Mercy) open for worshippers.

They also voted for calling the Arab Parliament to convene in Jordan to discuss Israeli transgressions, as well as reaching out to international parliaments to take a decisive stance against Israeli crimes against the holy city.

Also among the deputies’ recommendations was urging the ambassadors of permanent member states in the UN Security Council, the EU and the Arab and Muslim blocs, to reiterate their support for the Palestinian cause.

The recommendations also called for holding a second edition of “The Road to Jerusalem” conference, to reaffirm the durability of the Hashemite Custodianship over the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, which is a historical right guaranteed by all international norms and conventions.

The legislators also called on the Foreign Ministry to utilise all means at its disposal to pressure Israel into abiding by international resolutions on Jerusalem, stopping all settlement activities, enforcing the relevant UNISCO resolutions, halting all illegal Israeli digging in Jerusalem and supporting the Jerusalem Awqaf Department through increasing the number of its employees and guards working in Al Haram Al Sharif.

The MPs also suggested holding Friday demonstrations at King Hussein Bridge to express rejection of Israeli ministers’ break-in to Al Aqsa Mosque and statements regarding the holy site’s status quo.

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