Jordan’s Role in Jerusalem
Dr. Hasan Al-Barari
University Of Jordan
Faculty of International Studies and Political Science
How was Jordan’sreaction to Trump’s Act to relocate
the American embassy in Jerusalem? On which grounds is Jordan’s role based on?
If it is argued that Jordan is one of the key actors
in the Jerusalem issue regarding moving the American embassy to Jerusalem then this
paper should examine the historical background of Jordan’s connection to
Jerusalem and its legal role in defending it and speaking on its behalf on the
Before examining the current affairs in Jerusalem, it
is needed to study Jordan’s connection to Jerusalem (Al-Quds) historically.
Furthermore, Jordan’s legal role regarding Jerusalem should also be put under
The first reference is the Jordanian (Hashemite) custodianship
of Jerusalem holy sites. This refers to Jordan’s role in tending Muslim and
Christian holy sites in Al-Quds which traces back to 1924 when Palestinians
asked for assistance from Al-Sharif Hussain Bin Ali. Since then, the Hashemite custodianship
became a legacy administrated by Jordanian Kings. During the twentieth century,
the Hashemite kings have renovated Al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock.
In 1994, the Israel–Jordan peace treaty was signed.
Israel commits in article 9 of the treaty to “respect the present special
role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in
An agreement in 2003 was also signed between the
Palestinian authority, represented by president Abbas, and Jordan that admitted
the Jordanian role.
Jerusalem is deeply engraved in the hearts and minds
of the Hashemites. Jerusalem is the home to some of the most important Islamic
holy sites, such as Al Haram Al Shareef which includes two mosques and a tombs
of several prophets.
Jordanian Kings have stood against Zionist claims that
Jerusalem belongs to them. They also ordered for restoration work on the holy
sites in Jerusalem.
The Islamic Higher Council, an Islamic
non-governmental institution, was formed in Jerusalem in 1922 to raise funds to
restore the Dome of the Rock.
After being informed of the threats to the mosque by
the Council, Sharif Hussain contributed around 50 thousand golden lire to
restore Al Aqsa mosque.
King Abdullah I has a meeting with Winston Churchill on
21 March 1921. The King insisted on leaving Palestine’s fate up to its own
people, refusing his request on the Belfour Declaration.
During the British Mandate period, King Abdullah I’s
position in Palestine did not waver. He insisted on freeing Palestine fron the
The Jordanian-Arab Army participated on Arabs war
against Israel in 1948 to save Jerusalem and the rest of the Palestinian lands.
The war resulted in the defeat of Arabs and resulted in great damage to the
holy sites in Jerusalem. King Abdullah I, immediately, called for restoring Zachariya’smihrab
and the surrounding structures.
In 1969, King Hussein bin Talal ordered the rebuilding
of Al Aqsa mosque after a Jewish extremist barging, in august that year, in the
mosque and setting it on fire. The fire destroyed most of its facilities.
Due to the tensions between Israel and Palestinians in
2014, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel and the ambassador returned only
after Israeli Authorities agreed to let men of all ages to pray in Al-Aqsa.
Under the reign of King Abdullah II, the restoration
process of the holy sites continued. He reaffirmed the importance of
safeguarding the holy sites, pledging to protect them.
Reaching to the current affairs, Donald Trump, United
States’ current president, recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and decided
to move the American Embassy there.
The green light to start with such procedure, which no
other previous American president decided to execute, dates back to the Jerusalem
Embassy Act that was passed by the American Congress in 1995.
According to some political analysts, Trump’s decision
was not driven by diplomatic calculations but by a campaign promise. He
attempted to get pro-Israel American Jews to vote for him on 2016 elections by
promising to move the embassy and now he decided to fulfill that promise.
After Trump’s announcement of the decision to relocate
the embassy, the royal palace in Amman issued a statement.Through the
statement, King Abdullah strongly warned against the move. Assuring that to
achieve peace and stability, Jerusalem is a key component.
In the statement, King Abdullah stressed that carrying
out this resolution will cause serious implications for security and stability
in the Middle East. He added that it will also weaken the American efforts to
resume the peace process and fuel the feelings of Christians and Muslims.
King Abdullah II acted immediately to prevent that
decision from being executed;Along with Palestinians, he called for anemergency
meeting of the Arab foreign ministers to act against America’s recognition of
Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
The Jordanian parliament also reacted promptly and
asked the Jordanians to protest at the US embassy in Amman.
King Abdullah spoke out along with the Turkish
president, RecepTayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, December 13th, at a
joint conference in Ankara against the US decision.
conference King Abdullah said, “Jerusalem is the key to stability of the entire
Middle East”, and that Jordan and Turkey would stand “shoulder to shoulder to
Meanwhile, on the international level, The UN General
Assembly voted on Thursday December 21, 2017, on a resolution rejecting the
US’s administration’s decision to relocate the embassy to Jerusalem and its
unilateral recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
The resolution was submitted by the head of the Arab
Coalition, Yemen, and Turkey on behalf of the Organization of Islamic
Cooperation. The Assembly voted with a majority of 128 votes for the
resolution. 35 Countries abstained to vote and 9 voted against it.
Among the countries that voted for the resolution was,
as expected, Jordan. Despite Trump’s threat to cut US funding to countries that
oppose his decision.
Mohammad Momani, Jordan’s Minister for Media Affairs, said
that through the resolution the international community reflects its
determination to ensure the illegality of any measure that tramples the status
quo of Jerusalem.
He also said that the international community realizes
that the key to peace isby recognizing East Jerusalem as an occupied land and
that it is the capital of the Palestinian State within the pre-67 lines.
Jordan asked for a jointly work by the international
community for a resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. That resolution
is based on the two-state formula which is derived from the relevant
international legitimacy resolutions and the Arab Peace Initiative.
Jordan’s efforts under the leadership of King Abdullah
were praised by the Arab Coalition, represented by Yemen’s Ambassador to the UN
Khaled Al Yamani. The Coalition expressed its appreciation for Jordan’s role in
addressing the illegal measures against Jerusalem as its custodian.
and Palestine have been connected throughout history. Even before the
establishment of the current states, it has been confirmed that the East Bank
and the West Bank have always been treated as one.
Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem holy sites serves as a great proof of
Jordan’s role in Jerusalem. It something that was requested by the Palestinians
themselves to Al Sharif Hussien in 1924. The custodianship continues till
Israel recognized Jordan’s role through the Israel-Jordan peace treaty. Where
Israel promised to respect the Jordanian role in Muslim Holy shrines in
role also was officially recognized by Palestinians during the agreement that
was signed in 2003 between the Palestinian authority and Jordan.
kings throughout history, since King Abdullah I and until this day, have
ordered the restoration of the holy sites in Jerusalem and defended its rights
from being violated repeatedly.
violation has been aroused by the US president, Donald Trump when he decided to
recognize Jerusalem as the Capital of Israel and, accordingly, to move the US
has not stood idly as it witnessed this violation. The Jordanian people along
with their king have been moving continuously ever since Trump’s announcement.
Jordanians have participated in protests against the decision. King Abdullah II
reacted immediately by warning Trump of the