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Hashemite Custodianship: A binding legacy

Apr 03,2023 - Last updated at Apr 03,2023

Throughout history, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has stood unwaveringly with the Palestinian people, steadfast in its support of their right to self-determination and independent statehood, and devoted to the defence of the holy city of Jerusalem and its sacred sites. This commitment, both political and moral, has been a cornerstone of Jordan’s policy since the establishment of the Hashemite Kingdom. The resolute support for and the defence of Al Aqsa Mosque and the sanctity of Jerusalem’s holy sites underscore the depth of the Kingdom’s commitment to the Palestinian cause.

Jordan’s Hashemite Custodianship over Jerusalem’s Islamic and Christian holy sites is a testament to the nation’s dedication to preserving the religious and cultural heritage of the city. This role, recognised internationally and enshrined in the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty, highlights Jordan’s importance as a guardian of peace, religious coexistence and respect for the sanctity of Jerusalem’s religious monuments.

On Sunday, His Majesty King Abdullah met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and a number of Muslim and Christian Jerusalemite figures, where he stressed support for the Palestinian people and Jerusalemites, saying, “we will always be with you and you will overcome all the challenges before you”.

King Abdullah stressed that it is the duty of every Muslim to deter Israeli escalations against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem and stressed the need to stop displacement of Christians, as well as repeated attacks on churches, religious figures and Christian property in Jerusalem. The King reaffirmed commitment to the Hashemite Custodianship, as well as to the Pact of Islamic Caliph Omar Bin Al Khattab, which has preserved peace, harmony, and Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem for over 1400 years.

Today, Jordan’s role as the custodian of Jerusalem’s holy sites is key in upholding the spirit and principles of this remarkable pact. Caliph Omar’s magnanimous act of tolerance and respect for religious diversity has left an indelible mark on the history of Jerusalem.

In the modern era, Jordan has taken up the mantle of Caliph Omar, assuming the role of the Custodian of Jerusalem’s holy sites and ensuring their protection and preservation. The Hashemite Kingdom’s steadfast commitment to this responsibility has been recognised by both the Muslim and Christian communities in Jerusalem, as well as the international community. By continuing to uphold the spirit of the Pact of Omar, Jordan plays a vital role in preserving the religious and cultural heritage of the holy city and fostering an atmosphere of peace and understanding among its inhabitants.

Jerusalemites, both Muslims and Christians, recognise and reiterate the Hashemite Custodianship over the holy sites. This expression of trust in the Jordanian leadership highlights the Kingdom’s pivotal role in protecting the religious heritage and identity of the city. It is a responsibility that Jordan has always embraced and will continue to do so, guided by the principles of justice, respect for human rights and the preservation of the religious and cultural heritage that defines the city of Jerusalem.

The repeated Israeli violations of the sanctity of Al Aqsa Mosque and the rights of Palestinian worshippers have been met with unwavering condemnation from the Jordanian government. Jordan has consistently raised its voice against such actions, calling for the international community to hold Israel accountable for its transgressions and demanding respect for the rights of the Palestinian people.

Jordan has consistently advocated for a two-state solution, emphasising the need for East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future Palestinian state, and has played an active role in peace negotiations, regional dialogues and international forums to promote this vision.

Jordan’s unwavering position in supporting the Palestinians, Jerusalemites, and defending Al Aqsa Mosque is a reflection of the Hashemite leadership’s commitment to the principles of justice, religious coexistence and peace. The Hashemite Custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites is a testimony to the Kingdom’s dedication to preserving the sanctity of these sacred spaces and ensuring the rights of all worshippers, Christians and Muslims alike, are respected. Jordan will continue to stand firmly with the Palestinian people, advocating for their rights and working tirelessly to defend the holy city of Jerusalem and its religious heritage.

The Pact of Islamic Caliph Omar bin Al Khattab has stood for over 1,400 years as a beacon of religious tolerance, peace and harmony in Jerusalem. Today, Jordan’s role as the Custodian of the city’s holy sites is key to upholding these timeless principles and ensuring the continued coexistence of Jerusalem’s diverse religious communities.   

The writer is editor-in-chief of The Jordan Times and regularly writes for international media outlets.

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