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High time for Arabs to speak with one voice

Apr 25,2019 - Last updated at Apr 25,2019

Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said it all in the most direct and candid way possible when he told his Arab counterparts at last Sunday’s extraordinary Arab foreign ministers’ meeting in Cairo that “sovereignty over Jerusalem is Palestinian and the custodianship over its holy sites is Hashemite, yet defending the city, its identity and legal status is a Jordanian, Palestinian, Arab, Islamic and international responsibility”.

The well-documented Jordanian position could not have been expressed better, as it reflects faithfully the stance of Jordan right from the very start. Yet, what remains to be done is to have the Arab world endorse this position in no uncertain terms.

It is good to put forward the Jordanian stance in the clearest way possible before the Arab, Islamic and international communities, but to stop short of obtaining unequivocal support for this stance is a job unfinished.

The Palestinian side should be in the vanguard of supporters for the Jordanian position, as it is the most directly affected by it. It is taken for granted that the Palestinians’ understanding and support for the Jordanian position is fundamental and a prerequisite for the support of the Arab and Islamic worlds. Yet, when all is said and done, what really counts is how this noble Jordanian position is going to be put into effect before the conflict over Jerusalem gets any more complex.

It is bad enough that President Donald Trump has defied the Jordanian role in East Jerusalem, trampled on the Palestinian rights in their future capital and threatened the Jordanian custodianship over the Islamic and Christian holy places in the city by recognising the sovereignty of Israel over the Holy City. But for the Arab side to appear divided on East Jerusalem and its holy shrines would be highly irresponsible and can only further endanger their status and future.

This is the time for the Arab states to speak with one voice over East Jerusalem and its holy places, and endorse the Jordanian stance.

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