Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett
Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's remarks on "sovereignty" over Masjid al-Aqsa in the occupied East Jerusalem have brought up questions on Jordan's role in guarding the holy sites.
The government is responsible for all decisions related to Jerusalem and the flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque complex without any "foreign" interference, Bennett said on Sunday.
"All decisions regarding the Temple Mount and Jerusalem will be made by the Israeli government, which holds sovereignty over the city, without any foreign considerations," he added.
Bennett’s statements came after his coalition member Mansour Abbas, leader of the Islamist Ra'am party, said the key to solving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is through establishing a Palestinian state "with Jerusalem as its capital with Al-Aqsa Mosque as its heart."
Meanwhile, dismissing Israeli claims about its sovereignty over Jerusalem, Palestinian Authority spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said: "East Jerusalem, with its Islamic and Christian holy sites, is the eternal capital of the State of Palestine in accordance with international legitimacy resolutions."
Jordanian member of parliament Mohammed Al-Zahrawi on Monday had rejected Israel’s legal, historical and religious legitimacy on the holy city.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the world's third-holiest site for Muslims. Jews call the area the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. It annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognized by the international community.
- Custodianship of Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites
Hussein ibn Ali al-Hashimi donated 24,000 gold coins for the reconstruction of the Holy Muslim site in Jerusalem in 1924. This was also the starting point of claiming the guardianship of the holy sites by the Hashemite Kingdom.
Jordan and West Bank declared unification in 1950. Although this situation ended in 1988, Jerusalem remained under the guardianship of Jordan.
Jordan was accepted as the country responsible for religious affairs in Jerusalem under the Wadi Araba Treaty signed with Israel on Oct. 26, 1994.
Masjid al-Aqsa is managed by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf – a religious trust affiliated with the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf Islamic Affairs and Holy Places.
Jordanian Committee for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and Royal Committee for Jerusalem Affairs undertakes the duty of dealing with the affairs of Jerusalem. The Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock was established in 2007.
Israeli remarks raise questions on Jordan’s custodianship of Muslim holy sites
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