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Jordan demands Israel halts works at Jerusalem’s Umayyad Palaces

Letter of protest delivered to Israeli embassy over illegitimate changes to status quo

By JT - Mar 01,2017 - Last updated at Mar 01,2017

The Umayyad Palaces in Jerusalem have been targeted by Israeli occupation authorities and settlers (File photo)

AMMAN — Jordan on Wednesday sent a harshly worded letter of protest to the Israeli government, demanding an immediate halt to illegal construction works at the Umayyad Palaces located southwest of Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif in Jerusalem. 

In the letter, delivered by the Foreign Ministry to the Israeli embassy in Amman on Wednesday, Jordan “voiced its utmost objection to the Israeli construction works in the  Umayyad Palaces area adjacent to” the noble sanctuary, according to the Jordan News Agency, Petra. 

Quoting the letter, the agency said that Israel is building wood and concrete pathways in the eastern part of the Umayyad-era palaces in the occupied city, with signs allegeing that the site was the location of “purification pools” that were used by Jews in the era of the so-called Second Temple.

The changes to the status quo of the site constitute a transgression on a “waqf [religious endowment] land under the direct supervision of the Awqaf Administration in Jerusalem…which is the official authority with the jurisdiction over all affairs related to Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif”.

Last month, Jerusalem’s Israeli-controlled municipality, joined by Jewish settlers, stormed into the historic site and announced its annexation to what Israelis call the “Holy Basin” of religious sites.

The government’s letter said Israel's actions come in blatant violations to its obligations as an occupation force and of the international and humanitarian conventions, as well as the peace treaties. 

It added that the Israeli acts harm bilateral ties and hinder efforts exerted to preserve the historical status quo at Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif and its vicinity, calling for reversing the changes made at the site. 

Earlier in the day, Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson Mohammad  Momani issued a statement, where he stressed Jordan’s demand that Israel halts the works at the Umayyad Palaces, echoing the same message in the protest letter.

The violation against the Umayyad Palaces is part of a long series of assaults targeting the site and occupation forces have carried out several excavation works there, destroying Arab and Islamic heritage, reports have said. 

They have also stolen and moved many pieces of Islamic antiquities out of the site of the Umayyad Palaces, Petra reported at the time. 


His Majesty King Abdullah is recognised internationally as the Custodian of Jerusalem’s Holy Sites.

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