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A global duty

Nov 23,2017 - Last updated at Nov 23,2017

His Majesty King Abdullah’s recent meeting with a delegation representing the World Council of Churches was an occasion to emphasise Jordan’s commitment, under the Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites, to preserve the holy shrines and defend the property of its churches at all international forums.

The delegation, in Amman to take part in the meeting of the executive committee of the council, was assured that the Kingdom stands against all attempts to confiscate Christian property in East Jerusalem and that Christian holy sites receive the same care and attention Jordan gives to Islamic holy sites in the city.

The meeting was also an occasion for His Majesty to emphasise that Arab Christians are an integral part of the region and a key element of its identity, and that everybody has the duty to protect their rights.

It is a pertinent affirmation in view of the fact that the number of Christians, and Muslims, in Jerusalem is declining because of the discriminatory policies Israel applies to the city’s Arab population.

Jordan has been actively involved in promoting dialogue, understanding and coexistence, said the King, and has been exerting efforts to promote tolerance, moderation and understanding among followers of different religions.

Defending the holy sites in Jerusalem from Israeli rapacious designs is a long-standing Jordanian position.

This city, said King Abdullah, “must always be a symbol of hope and peace, not a symbol of division”. Yet, the intolerant, apartheid, Israeli rule is intended precisely at dividing and at dispossessing the Arab population.

The number of both Muslim and Christian Arabs of East Jerusalem is dwindling at an alarming rate and their properties are confiscated by Israeli authorities under one pretext or another.

According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the number of Christians in East Jerusalem has shrunk to about 14,000; the number of Muslims residing in East Jerusalem has fallen to about 200,000, and is fast dropping, due to additional Israeli restrictions on their continued residence.

Helping Muslims and Christians in East Jerusalem should not be a Jordanian endeavour only; the international community must play a role as well before these important, millennia-old, communities are made to leave Jerusalem.

Jordan is doing its utmost for their protection, but it takes a determined international effort to turn the tide in their favour.

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