King of Jordan says its a 'duty' of Muslims to protect holy sites from Israeli escalation

Christian and Muslim holy sites are allegedly being desecrated more frequently by Jewish extremists


Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks during the Arab League's "Summit for Jerusalem" in Cairo, on February 12, 2023. (Photo by Ahmad HASSAN / AFP) (Photo by AHMAD HASSAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II told a Palestinian delegation over the weekend that it is the “duty” of Muslims to protect Jerusalem’s holy Muslim and Christian sites from Israeli harassment.

Addressing a group led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas – who was visiting the King in Amman on Sunday – the King said, “it is the duty of every Muslim to deter Israeli escalations against Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem,” according to a statement from the royal court.

He also reportedly told the Palestinian delegation present that Jordan, which has been the custodian of some Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem since 1924, will “always be with you.”

Jordan views itself as the custodian also of the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site and the third holiest site in Islam – but this is a status not officially recognised by Israel.

The King “stressed the need to stop the displacement of Christians, as well as the repeated attacks on churches, religious figures, and Christian property in Jerusalem,”

The Jordanian monarch also called on the international community “to take a stand against the exclusionary and racist statements made recently by some Israeli officials,” the statement said.

He further reiterated his Kingdom’s commitment to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state and emphasised the right of Palestinians to self-determination and improved humanitarian and economic conditions in the West Bank.

Jordan became the second Arab country to recognise and sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, with whom they share an eastern border.

Holy sites in Jerusalem have been the centre point of a disturbing rise in violent confrontations and attacks in recent months.

Church leaders in Jerusalem issued a joint statement on Friday calling on Israeli authorities to enhance security at Christian holy sites, ensuring Christians can worship freely during Easter.

In a statement, local Christian patriarchs said: “As we have all seen in recent months, escalating violence has engulfed the Holy Land. Local Christians in particular have increasingly suffered adversities,

“Some of our holy sites and cemeteries have been desecrated, and some of our ancient liturgies, such as the Palm Sunday procession and the holy fire ceremony, have been closed off to thousands of worshippers,

“This is in spite of our agreement to cooperate with the governing authorities and to accommodate any reasonable requests that they might present.”

The Custody of the Holy Land, a Catholic body tasked with protecting holy sites in Israel has reported several recent attacks on Christians.

On Feb 2, a Jewish man tore down the statue of Jesus at the Church of the Flagellation and in January a Christian cemetery in Jerusalem was allegedly vandalised with the phrase “death to Christians” written on a monastery’s walls.

For Christians who follow the Gregorian calendar, Easter falls on April 9, while Passover will last from April 5 to April 13, and Muslims began their observance of the holy month of Ramadan on March 22.

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