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FM: Any Israeli attempt to alter status quo in Jerusalem akin to 'playing with fire'

'Clear and frank dialogue' to be held with American leaders to intensify peace efforts, says Safadi

By JT - May 11,2022 - Last updated at May 11,2022

In this image grab taken from Al Mamlaka TV on Tuesday shows Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaking during an interview

AMMAN — Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Tuesday said that Israel, as an occupying power, does not enjoy sovereignty over the holy sites nor Al Aqsa Mosque, which constitutes a place of worship for Muslims exclusively, within its total area of 144 dunums, highlighting that Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian land.

Safadi said that the talks that His Majesty King Abdullah will hold in Washington will discuss bilateral relations, focusing on a number of regional issues, foremost of which is the Palestinian cause.

In an interview with Al Mamlaka TV,  he stressed that the absence of achieving a just and comprehensive peace cannot continue, adding that Jordan always affirms that the only way to bring about peace is the two-state solution that guarantees the establishment of an independent, sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital on the lines of June 4, 1967.

Safadi described the current situation as “ dangerous”, as Israeli actions undermine the two-state solution and all chances of achieving a comprehensive peace, indicating that “a clear and frank dialogue” will be held with the American leaders to intensify efforts aimed at creating “a real political horizon”.

In regard to the situation in Jerusalem, Safadi said that Jordan, prior to the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan, worked intensively to prevent any provocative Israeli steps that would lead to an outbreak, adding that His Majesty led strenuous efforts to guarantee that.

Nonetheless, he said, Israeli violations led to the outbreak of violence.

He underlined that Jordanian efforts are now focused on what is required in order not to avoid the recurrence of such violations, and thus maintain security, stability and the right of worshipers to perform their religious rites freely in the holy sites in occupied Jerusalem.

He reaffirmed that the Jordan-run Jerusalem Awqaf and Aqsa Affairs Department is the exclusive authority to supervise the holy site’s affairs and manage entries.

The Jordanian minister recalled that in 1930, the League of Nations, when the Shaw Commission was presented, confirmed that the Al Haram Al Sharif in its entirety is a place of worship purely for Muslims. 

He referred to Security Council Resolution (478) which rejected Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and affirmed that Jerusalem is an occupied Palestinian land, while its (2334) Resolution confirmed the historical Hashemite Custodianship dating back to 1924, which was validated in the agreement concluded between His Majesty the King and President Mahmoud Abbas. 

Safadi reiterated the Kingdom’s rejection of any Israeli action aimed at changing the historical and legal status quo, describing any attempt to tamper with it as “playing with fire”, which would provoke the feelings of more than one billion and two hundred million Muslims, pushing the region towards more aggravation.

“We want calm, and we want to move forward in a practical and clear way towards peace”, Safadi said.

Calm begins with respecting the historical and legal status quo in the holy sites and finding “a political horizon”, Safadi added in the interview.

The Awqaf Ministry appoints the guards at Al Haram Al Sharif  in coordination with the Jordan-run Jerusalem Awqaf and Aqsa Affairs Department, he said.

However, he added, Israel obstructs a number of steps taken by the department to maintain security and tranquillity in Al Haram Al Sharif by preventing Awqaf employees from performing their role, in addition to hindering many reconstruction projects.

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