Abbas, during his visit to Amman with King Abdullah, signs agreement regarding the protection of Christian & Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
By Eilor Levy
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah signed Sunday an agreement by which they pledge to cooperate on protecting holy sites in Jerusalem.
The agreement was signed during Abbas’s visit in Jordan, in the presence of Palestinian Minister of Religious Affairs Mahmoud al-Habash and his Jordanian counterpart.
According to al-Habash, the agreement was devised in order to coordinate the protection of the al-Aqsa Mosque and all the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. He added that the agreement reiterated Jordan’s historic role in securing the holy sites as well as the Palestinian sovereignty over the West Bank and east Jerusalem.
Jordan’s 1994 peace treaty with Israel recognizes Jordan’s role as custodian of Christian and Muslim shrines in the city, which Israel captured from the kingdom in the 1967 Mideast War. The Palestinians want the eastern portion of the city as the capital of their future state.
The fate of the city and its shrines is to be determined in final status talks with Israel.
A statement from Jordan’s royal palace said the agreement signed Sunday between Abbas and King Abdullah confirms a verbal deal brokered in 1924.
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said that the Palestinian president and the Jordanian king also discussed future cooperation in light of recent developments in the Middle East, and following last week’s Arab League summit, which approved a Qatari proposal to set up a $1 billion fund for Arab east Jerusalem.
In response to the approval, Abbas said in his speech at the summit: “The Israeli occupation is working in a systematic and hurried way to Judaise east Jerusalem, change its features and uproot its Palestinian residents, attacking the al-Aqsa Mosque and its Muslim and Christian holy sites.”
Roi Kais, AP contributed to this report.
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