Thursday, March 27, 2014

Jordanian King Vows to Protect Jerusalem

by Spencer Ho

Abdullah II says Amman will stand up for Arab population in holy city, calls for peace deal to uphold Jordan’s interests
Jordan’s King Abdullah II said his country will protect Jerusalem and stand up to “Israeli violations,” in a speech to the Arab Summit in Kuwait Tuesday.
Abdullah’s speech to the Arab League Summit in Kuwait came as tensions between Israel and Jordan have bubbled up over demands by Knesset lawmakers that Israel impose sovereignty over the Temple Mount.

Jordan “will work to help Jerusalem’s Arab population stay on their land, support their steadfastness, strengthen their presence and stand up to address Israeli violations and measures, particularly those targeting Al Aqsa Mosque, by all available means and in coordination with our brothers in the State of Palestine,” Abdullah said, referring to the mosque atop the disputed holy site.

A Knesset debate in February on Israeli sovereignty over the Temple Mount set off intense criticism in the Arab world, particularly from Jordan, where Prime Minister Abdullah Nsur warned that Amman might review its peace agreement with Israel.

Jordan considers itself custodian of the holy site, which is administered by the Islamic Waqf trust.

“Jordan will … continue to carry out its religious and historical duty of preserving Jerusalem and its holy Islamic and Christian sites,” he said.

Israeli lawmakers have raised objections to a restriction barring Jewish prayer atop the mount, considered the holiest site in Jerusalem, for fear that it would provoke a violent reaction from Muslims.

Abdullah also touted the importance of achieving an Israeli-Palestinian peace accord, calling it the basis for “achieving comprehensive peace and enrooting security and stability in the Middle East.”

He added that any peace agreement needed to “uphold Jordan’s higher interests.”

“Today the international community is required to assume its responsibilities, move immediately to compel Israel to stop its unilateral policies and measures and urge it to take advantage of the Arab Peace Initiative and the historic opportunity available now to achieve peace,” he said.

The Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.
Spencer Ho


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