Jerusalem’s Arab People, Identity Must be Protected — Prince Hassan
Wednesday, May 09, 2018 
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Leaving the Palestinian issue unsettled will remain the key reason behind regional conflicts and will keep hindering development, security and building of the future, HRH Prince Hassan said on Tuesday.

His remarks were made at the opening of the international conference "The Palestinian Issue, Where To?" held at the University of Jordan (UJ) in the presence of diplomats, lawyers, activists, artists and musicians.

Marking the 70th anniversary of Nakba, the three-day conference includes working papers, presentations and perspectives presented by more than 70 speakers from the US and the Middle East, aiming to shed light on the Palestinian cause and the measures needed to achieve justice and peace in this regard.

The international community must confront the issue with courage and objectivity, act in accordance with international law and legitimacy, and recognise that two neighbouring states must be live side by side, Prince Hassan stated.

A Palestinian state where all the rights of all Palestinians are secured, including the right of return of refugees, must be accepted, Prince Hassan said, criticising the Israeli polarising approach in seeking solutions, including their request for unconditional negotiations and refusing the right of return for refugees.

On Jerusalem, the prince said: "There is no similar city in the globe in terms of diversity and coexistence and its Arab people and identity must be protected with the assistance of Muslim and Arab nations.”

He stressed the importance of the Muslim awqaf and Christian endowments management in the holy city, urging more efforts on the political level that benefit from the internationally recognised status quo of East Jerusalem as an occupied land, and intensify the mobilisation of Jerusalemites through cultural movements such as arts and "soft resistance" to refute Israeli claims.

Prince noted the international community's duality in dealing with war crimes, comparing the measures that were taken during the Bosnian-Serbian conflict and the "weekly shooting of children" by the Israeli soldiers.

Prince Hassan underscored the Hashemites’ role in the preservation of the city's holy shrines, referring to his great grandfather Sherif Hussein, who reconstructed Al Aqsa Mosque/AL Haram Al Sharif in 1924 with a cost of 39,000 Palestinian pounds, equivalent to 24,000 golden liras.

In 1949, King Abdullah I personally helped extinguish a fire that almost destroyed the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and ordered its restoration and maintenance, said the prince.

He highlighted the UNRWA's role in assisting the Palestinian refugees since 1949, noting the financial pledges made by a number of Arab and other countries, worth $150 million to address a funding gap left after the US downsized its contribution to the agency drastically.

He called for establishing an international Zakat fund to help refugees, urging more studies on the permissibility to use Zakat money for this purpose.

Regarding the US decision to move its embassy to occupied Jerusalem, the prince noted that it will be built on a land that was used for a British military camp during the mandate period and was rented to the US for $1 annually with a request from Israel that the land be used for a future US embassy. 
It has been proventhat the land is a property ofan Arab family, the prince said.

He added that US President Donald Trump fulfilled his pledge to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on the basis of two principles: Israel being a sovereign country with the right to choose its capital, and the condition of peace with Palestinians if they accept it.

The prince called for increasing the world's awareness of the Palestinian issue and holding periodical meetings by the public and the private sector on the subject.

"Have the Arab snot learned from the successive defeats and schemes that started with the Sykes-Picot agreement?" the prince asked in conclusion.

For his part, UJ President Azmi Mahafzah said that the future of Jerusalem is a "red line" as always asserted by His Majesty King Abdullah.

Mahafzah said that Israel attempts to justify building settlements by saying that Jews did so 3,000 years ago.

Meanwhile, archaeological excavations that have been ongoing for centuries have revealed no tangible evidence related to Israel's presence at that time, he added.

The president highlighted UJ's efforts to keep the Palestinian issue alive for all generations, noting the university's curriculum on Jerusalem and the award of the best PhD on Jerusalem every two years.

The papers that will be presented at the conference will cover the political, legal and economic dimensions of the issue, heritage and culture and civic pressure movements.
Jordan Times: May 08, 2018
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