ASIA/JORDAN - Tension with Israel over Holy Places, Archbishop Lahham: enough defiant acts

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Amman (Agenzia Fides) – The majority of the members of the Jordanian parliament voted in favour of a motion to expel the Israeli ambassador from the country and to recall the ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom to Israel. The vote held on 26 February, represented a firm reaction on the part of Jordan’s political representatives to a move in the Israeli parliament when the Likud presented a bill to revoke the status of Custodians of the Muslim Holy Places in Jerusalem recognised to Jordan and also ratified by the 1994 peace treaty signed by the state of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom.
The proposal to annul Jordan’s prerogatives over Muslim Holy Places in Jerusalem – and in particular Temple Mount – was put forward by Moshe Feiglin, leader of an extremist Likud faction fighting “two peoples-two states”, demands full and exclusive Israeli sovereignty also over Temple Mount and backs the annexation of the Palestinian territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip to Israel.
“The vote of the Jordanian parliament” Archbishop Maroun Lahham, patriarchal Vicar for Jordan of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, explained to Fides “does not surprise me. Although the countries signed a peace agreement, that was an accord between political leaders, not between peoples. This vote by the Jordanian parliament is a demonstrative gesture to make it clear to Israel that there exists a red line which cannot be overstepped. Furthermore– Archbishop Lahham added “The proposal presented at the Knesset only served to heighten tension between Israel and the Muslims living in surrounding countries. As do challenging incursions by Jewish extremists on the Temple Mount, with the protection of the army. Israel is well aware of the sensitivity of Muslims and Christians regarding the question of the Holy Places. Now with a peace process underway, I wonder if there is any sense in defiant actions such as these. Better to make sincere gestures of reconciliation”. (GV) (Agenzia Fides 27/2/2014).