King meets religious leaders from Jerusalem, Jordan; reaffirms unwavering position towards Palestine

20 December 2023

His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday reaffirmed Jordan’s clear and unwavering position towards the Palestinian cause and the aggression on Gaza, stressing that Jordan will not go back on its position and will continue to support the Palestinians.

During a meeting with religious leaders from Jerusalem and Jordan at Al Husseiniya Palace, His Majesty reiterated the need to stand united in defending Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

At the meeting—attended by Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II and Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad, His Majesty’s chief adviser for religious and cultural affairs and personal envoy—the King said Jordan will carry on with its historic role in safeguarding Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem.

His Majesty called for stepping up cooperation and coordination with the Palestinians to identify the challenges they face on the ground and support them to persevere.

Turning to Gaza, the King said any truce must lead to a ceasefire and a return to the negotiating table to find a solution to the Palestinian issue based on the two-state solution, which is supported by international consensus.

The King expressed Jordan’s rejection and condemnation of the targeting of places of warship, including mosques and churches in Gaza, noting that many have sought refuge in these places and are in need of aid, which Jordan is seeking to deliver in any way possible.

His Majesty highlighted Jordan’s efforts to maintain the provision of relief and humanitarian aid through field hospitals, especially in Gaza, which receive vital supplies, in parallel to pushing for the opening of crossing points for the sustainable and sufficient delivery of aid.

The King warned of the repercussions of the catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza due to the Israeli aggression, as well as in Jerusalem and the West Bank as a result of continuous aggression against Palestinians there.

Additionally, His Majesty warned of impediments that may prevent Christians from attending Christmas Mass in Bethlehem, stressing that Jordan will work with the international community to ensure access for worshippers.

For his part, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi spoke about Jordan’s efforts to support the Palestinians, adding that Jordan’s priorities have always been clear throughout history, with a firm position in support of the Palestinians in gaining their rights as the only way to reach peace.

Safadi highlighted Jordan’s efforts, under the King’s leadership, from the start of the war, to expose its futility and catastrophic results not only on the Palestinians, but on the entire region.

He added that the international position towards what is happening in Gaza has started to change, which is key to reaching the goal of stopping the war.

Safadi stressed that the humanitarian situation is a priority for Jordan, including the delivery of aid to Gaza and the West Bank, which is also witnessing dangerous escalations.

The minister said Jordan, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority, has presented a case to the International Court of Justice on violations in the West Bank and in Jerusalem, as well as attempts to violate the historical and legal status quo in Islamic and Christian holy sites, and attempts to displace Palestinian Jerusalemites and demolish their homes.

Safadi said His Majesty has warned of any post-war security approach that continues what the West Bank has been witnessing, stressing that any approach on Gaza has to be part of a comprehensive approach, whereby the Strip and the West Bank are dealt with as one.

Jerusalem Awqaf Council President Abdul Azim Salhab expressed appreciation for His Majesty’s ongoing efforts to support the Palestinian people, stressing Jerusalemites are committed to supporting the Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, which is key to safeguarding the historical status quo in the holy city.

Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem Theophilos III commended the Hashemite Custodianship’s role in preserving the historical and legal status quo, noting the progress achieved in the second phase of restoration in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre under the Hashemite restoration project.

Warning that no military solution can bring peace in the Middle East, Patriarch Theophilos III said the heads of churches in the Holy Land call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza to relieve the humanitarian crisis.

He stressed the need to end the cycle of violence and build on shared values and aspirations to reach a future where the Palestinian people can live with the dignity of every human person, commending Jordan’s role in delivering urgent aid to Gaza and establishing field hospitals in the Strip and in the West Bank.

Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Cardinal Pierbattista Pizzaballa commended Jordan’s diplomatic role in seeking an end to the war in Gaza, expressing thanks to the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army for the humanitarian relief provided through field hospitals in Gaza and the West Bank, and to the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organisation for its efforts in delivering aid to the strip.

“Together we seek, by all possible means, to assert the truth to the world and the international community, to stop the war immediately,” Cardinal Pizzaballa said, stressing that the intervention of the international community will be necessary to help in finding a new and realistic perspective for the future of Gaza and of Palestinians.

“But at the same time, it is not possible that such a perspective could be achieved, without the central role of Jordan and of Your Majesty,” he said, addressing the King.

“Your mission and the special role of the Hashemite family are of the utmost importance. You are a strong voice in all regional and international forums, helping to preserve the identity of the Holy City and the ‘status quo’, and guaranteeing the preservation of the multi-religious and multi-cultural character of Jerusalem in all her holy places,” Cardinal Pizzaballa added.

“His Holiness Pope Francis and the Holy See highly appreciate the person of Your Majesty and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which, thanks to your wise leadership, has made our beloved Jordanian society a living model of stability in our region,” he continued.

Jerusalem Awqaf Department Director Mohammad Azzam Al Khatib praised His Majesty’s efforts in seeking an end to the war on Gaza and rejecting the forcible displacement of the Palestinians.

Al Aqsa Mosque Imam Sheikh Yousef Abu Sneineh highlighted the situation at the mosque under current Israeli violations, stressing the important role of the Hashemite Custodianship in safeguarding holy sites and their identity and noting the ongoing steadfastness of worshippers.

Jordan’s Grand Mufti Ahmad Hasanat stressed Jordanians’ support for His Majesty’s stances in support of the Palestinians’ just rights.

Council of Church Leaders President Archbishop Christoforos Atallah commended His Majesty’s efforts to call for ending the war on Gaza and ensure the uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid, as well as his reaffirmation of the need to reach peace on the basis of the two-state solution and rejection of forced displacement attempts.

He also lauded the King’s efforts in preserving the Christian presence in the region and ensuring Christians’ steadfastness.

Royal Hashemite Court Chief Yousef Issawi, Director of the Office of His Majesty Jafar Hassan, Awqaf Minister Mohammad Khalaileh, Chief Islamic Justice Abdul Hafez Rabtah, and Jordan’s Ambassador to Palestine Issam Bdour attended the meeting.

Members of the Jerusalem council of churches, the Jerusalem awqaf council, a number of Jerusalemite figures, and heads of churches in Jordan were also in attendance.