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Arab Ministerial Committee emphasises Hashemite custodianship

Committee gathers in Amman to confront Israeli escalation

By JT - Apr 21,2022 - Last updated at Apr 21,2022

Members of the Arab Ministerial Committee in charge of international action to confront illegal Israeli policies and measures in occupied Jerusalem during an emergency meeting in Amman on Thursday (Petra photo)

AMMAN — Upon an invitation by Jordan, the Arab Ministerial Committee in charge of international action to confront illegal Israeli policies and measures in the occupied city of Jerusalem on Thursday held an emergency meeting in Amman.

Chaired by Jordan, the committee includes Tunisia, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Qatar, Egypt, Morocco, the UAE, and the Secretary-General of the Arab League. 

The discussions focused on the outlooks of countering the “dangerous Israeli escalation” at Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, and developing a joint action plan to halt the Israeli assaults and violations against the holy sites, and stop the violence and restore comprehensive calm.

The committee’s final statement emphasised the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship over Jerusalem's Islamic and Christian sites, stressing the necessity to ease all obstacles that hinder the operations of the Jordan-run Jerusalem Awqaf and Aqsa Affairs Department, meant to protect Al Aqsa Mosque’s facilities.  

Head of the committee, Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki briefed the gathering on the Israeli escalations, including their rejected attempts to alter the historical and legal status quo and impose restrictions on worshippers, and the de-escalation efforts and efforts to end the violence.

The committee condemned the Israeli attacks and violations against worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, which “have escalated dangerously” over the last days of the holy month of Ramadan, resulting in hundreds of injuries and worshipper detentions, which have also brought severe damage to Al Haram Al Sharif’s facilities.  

The committee also warned that these assaults and violations represent a “blatant provocation to the feelings of Muslims”, undermine the right to the freedom of worship at Al Aqsa and worshippers’ right to freely access the holy site, as well as could fuel violence and threaten global and regional security and stability.

They expressed their rejection of all Israeli illegal practices that aim to change the legal and historical status quo of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif and attempts to impose spatial and temporal division in the mosque were voiced, with condemnations of these practices as “a flagrant violation of international law and Israel’s legal responsibilities as an occupying force”.

“Israel has to respect Al Haram Al Sharif’s historical and legal status quo”, the committee said. The committee emphasised the importance of returning to what was before 2000, and respecting the fact that Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif, with its total area of 144 dunums, is a place of worship for Muslims only, and any visits by non-Muslims shall be organised by the Jordan-run Jerusalem Awqaf and Aqsa Affairs Department, the “exclusive authority” to supervise the holy site’s affairs and manage entries. 

The committee also called on the international community, particularly the Security Council, to show an “immediate and effective response” to stop Israel’s illegal practices and provocations in Jerusalem and Al Haram Al Sharif, protect international law and the UN Charter, prevent violence and maintain security and peace.

The Security Council was also urged to assume its responsibilities in maintaining international peace and security, notably to implement resolutions related to East Jerusalem.

The meeting further emphasised the necessity to maintain coordination between the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) over protecting the occupied city of Jerusalem and its holy places and preserving its Arab-Islamic-Christian identity.

The committee also expressed its full support for the Palestinian people, their leadership, and their institutions, mainly their legitimate rights to freedom and statehood along the June 4, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the two-state solution, in accordance with the international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.  

The committee called on Israel to stop escalatory practices and attacks in all occupied Palestinian territories, relax the blockade on the Gaza Strip, and halt all actions that threaten security and peace, undermine the two-state solution and the opportunities of reaching a just and comprehensive peace, an Arab strategic choice and a regional and global necessity, read the statement.

The committee members also warned of the “disastrous consequences” of economic pressures on Palestine and the continued absence of political outlooks, calling for intensified regional and international efforts to restore comprehensive calm and to relaunch serious and effective negotiations that restore confidence in the feasibility of the peace process and put it on a clear path towards a negotiated solution based on the two-state solution that would put an end to the occupation and realise an independent and sovereign Palestinian state, to live in security and peace alongside Israel, the only way to end the conflict and achieve a just and comprehensive peace.

The committee tasked member states and the secretary general of the Arab League to act jointly and make contacts with the international community and international bodies to show the threats of the Israeli practices against Jerusalem’s holy shrines, to push for an effective international position to stop such practices and to oblige Israel to respect international law and restore comprehensive calm.

The committee announced its permanent convening to follow up on developments, to take all necessary measures to safeguard Jerusalem’s holy sites and support the Palestinians.

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