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Jordan King Abdullah, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas ink deal to ‘defend’ Occupied Jerusalem

Agreement confirms Jordan’s historic role as custodian of Muslim holy sites in the city

Gulf News

Amman: Jordan’s King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas signed on Sunday an agreement confirming their “common goal to defending” occupied Jerusalem and its sacred sites against Israeli attempts to Judaise the city.

A statement by the palace said the deal confirms Jordan’s historic role as custodian of Muslim holy sites in occupied Jerusalem, particularly the Al Aqsa mosque compound, and outlines coordination between the two sides.

“In this historic agreement, Abbas reiterated that the king is the custodian of holy sites in Jerusalem and that he has the right to exert all legal efforts to preserve them, especially Al Aqsa mosque,” the statement said.

“It is also emphasising the historical principles agreed by Jordan and Palestine to exert joint efforts to protect the city and holy sites from Israeli judaisation attempts.”

Israel has been occupying East Jerusalem since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It has annexed the city and regards it as its “united capital”, a move not recognised internationaly.

“It also reaffirms the historic principles upon which Jordan and Palestine are in agreement as regards occupied Jerusalem and their common goal of defending occupied Jerusalem together, especially at such a critical time, when the city is facing dramatic challenges and daily illegal changes to its authenticity and original identity.”

Al Aqsa compound, known to Muslims as Al Haram Al Sharif, is Islam’s third holiest site after Makkah and Madina in Saudi Arabia, and houses the Dome of the Rock and Al Aqsa mosques.

It is also Judaism’s most sacred place of worship, venerated by Jews as Temple Mount, the site where King Herod’s temple is believed by Israelis to have stood before it was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD.

It is one of the most sensitive sites in occupied Jerusalem, and clashes frequently break out between Palestinians and Israeli security forces.

“[Occupied] Jerusalem is currently facing major challenges and attempts to change its Arab, Muslim and Christian identity,” the palace said.

The Palestinians want occupied east Jerusalem as capital of their future state.

Jordan, which has a 1994 peace treaty with Israeli, administers the Muslim holy sites in occupied Jerusalem through its ministry of Awqaf and religious affairs.