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Arab leaders declare support for Hashemite Custodianship in Jerusalem

By Mohammad Ghazal - Apr 01,2019 - Last updated at Apr 01,2019

TUNIS — Arab leaders on Sunday stressed the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship over the Islamic and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem, especially on Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif.

In the Tunis Declaration, announced at the end of the 30th Arab summit, the heads of the Arab states emphasised the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship in safeguarding the Islamic and Christian holy sites and protecting their Arabic identity.

The Arab leaders stressed that Jordan’s Jerusalem Awqaf Department is the sole legal entity in charge of administering Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif and conducting the needed maintenance and preservation works, as well as the only party in charge of access to Al Aqsa Mosque.

They renewed their rejection of all unilateral measures and procedures by Israel, which is an occupying force, to alter the historic and legal status of East Jerusalem, especially with regard to the Islamic and Christian holy sites in the holy city.

The declaration also stressed rejection for the attempts of the Israeli occupation to encroach on the Hashemite custodianship in the Holy City.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said in his address at the summit: "We value the role of the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf Department as the sole legal authority for managing the affairs of Al Aqsa Mosque". 

"We are working together to end this vicious onslaught by extremist groups protected by the Israeli government and to revert to respecting the pre-1967 historical status quo, which the occupying state is trying to change in favour of its colonial project," Abbas added, referring to continuous coordination with His Majesty and Jordan in this regard.

Arab leaders urged all countries not to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and not to relocate their embassies to the occupied city, according to the Tunis Declaration.

On the Syrian refugee crisis, the Arab heads of states urged the international community to continue providing support for refugees and refugee-hosting countries.

In resolutions adopted by the Arab leaders during their annual gathering, they commended His Majesty King Abdullah’s efforts in safeguarding Islamic and Christian holy sites, renewing their rejection of all attempts by Israel, as an occupying force, to tamper with the Hashemite Custodianship.

The Arab leaders said they highly valued Jordan’s role in protecting the holy sites in Jerusalem in line with the Hashemite Custodianship, which was reaffirmed by an agreement signed by King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2013.

They also voiced support for the Jordanian Jerusalem Awqaf Department and its role in preserving Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, urging Israel to stop its aggression against its staff.

The Arab leaders urged continued support for the Palestinians and for UNRWA, to enable it to continue the provision of its services. They also stressed the agency’s mandate and the importance of maintaining it in all areas where the agency operates, including occupied Jerusalem, until a just and lasting solution is found to the issue of Palestinian refugees.

They also stressed their rejection and condemnation of all attempts to terminate the role of UNRWA, as well as the US decision to discontinue the UN agency's funding, adding that the issue of the Palestinian refugees is an integral part of final-status issues.

They also voiced concern over the annual deficit in UNRWA’s budget.

On the US decision to recognise Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the Arab leaders voiced their rejection and condemnation of the move, considering it void and null and a serious violation of the UN charter. 

In the resolutions they adopted, the Arab leaders stressed that any peace deal or initiative that is not in harmony with the international references of the peace process is rejected and "will not be successful".

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