Arab Group, China hail Jordan for protecting Jerusalem sites

Israeli forces protect Jewish settlers entering Al-Aqsa Mosque complex. (Photo: AFP)
AMMAN — The Arab Group at the UN praised Jordan’s continued efforts to protect the historical and legal status quo of the city of Jerusalem under the Hashemite custodianship of His Majesty King Abdullah, reported the Jordan News Agency, Petra.اضافة اعلان

The Arab Group welcomed, in a statement, the ceasefire that ended Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip, as well as Egypt and Qatar’s crucial role in brokering the accord.

Monday’s statement was delivered by the Jordanian Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Mahmoud Al-Hmoud, who chairs the Arab Group for the month of August. He spoke during an emergency meeting of the Security Council devoted to the latest events in the Gaza Strip.

Hmoud said that the Israeli aggression against Gaza reflects the absence of the basis of a two-state solution. He urged the international community to provide protection to the Palestinian people and to investigate violations against civilians, notably children.

“Comprehensive peace and security will be achieved by a return to serious and effective negotiations to reach a two-state solution, which embodies the independent and sovereign Palestinian state based on the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in accordance with the international legitimacy, the Security Council’s resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative,” he asserted.

The envoy also called for a cessation of all Israeli unilateral, provocative, and escalatory acts of aggression in Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif, which is, with its total area of 144 dunums, a place of worship for Muslims only. He insisted that the Jordan-run Jerusalem Awqaf and Aqsa Affairs Department are the sole authority to supervise the mosque’s affairs.

In a related development, The Chinese representative at the UN Security Council, Ambassador Zhang Jun, called for respecting the Jordanian Hashemite custodianship over Islamic and Christian holy shrines in Jerusalem, Al-Ghad News reported.

“Any attempt to change this situation or any provocative act will lead to friction in the holy city,” the envoy said.

Chinese media reported ambassador Zhang saying that briefings by colleagues in Palestine indicate that the current situation is unfortunate and heart-wrenching, and China denounces indiscriminate attacks against civilians and grave violations against children. He insisted that the lives of civilians must be respected, with no exceptions.

“The current situation remains fragile and the Security Council must pay great attention to prevent further escalation,” he pointed out.

Zhang said the ceasefire is the beginning, but a complete cessation of violence depends on its implementation. He said diplomatic efforts should continue to respect the ceasefire and practice restraint to restore calm as soon as possible.

He explained that military operations destroyed buildings and houses in the Gaza Strip, and that such actions exacerbated the suffering of the people. He said the situation in Gaza requires an increased support for the recovery and construction of the coastal strip.

“We must not spare any effort to put an end to the widespread humanitarian crisis,” he said. “The situation is linked to what was happening in the West Bank and we are concerned about the crisis situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

In the past, the Security Council held several emergency meetings on the Palestinian crisis, he said. But the problems persist because the Middle East peace process has deviated from its normal course, and its basis of a two-state solution has been overlooked.

Zhang stressed that Palestinians have the right to an independent state, which had been repeatedly violated.  It has been proven over time that emergency solutions cannot replace political solutions, he asserted.

He urged the international community to deal with the root cause of the conflict, reinitiate the peace process as soon as possible, and advance the two-state solution so that Palestinians can attain their rights.

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