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Jerusalem fund a pressing need

May 21,2018 - Last updated at May 21,2018

It is good that the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) recognised and appreciated during its recent extraordinary summit in Istanbul the noble role of the Hashemite custodianship in protecting the holy sites in Jerusalem, but much more can, and should, be expected.

In its final communiqué last Friday, the OIC said that it “affirms its support for the historical Hashemite custodianship assumed by His Majesty King Abdullah on Muslim and Christian holy sites in Al Quds [Jerusalem], which was reaffirmed by the agreement signed between His Majesty King Abdullah and His Excellency Mahmoud Abbas, president of the state of Palestine on March 31, 2013”. The OIC vowed further support to the “role of the Jordanian department of Al Quds and Al Aqsa Mosque Islamic Waqf…”

This responsibility that falls on the shoulders of the Hashemites needs more than political support. Much more is needed as this responsibility entails huge investments and expenses that Jordan has been assuming all along, but now needs financial support from the OIC as the challenges are getting more ominous and complex.

It goes without saying that the responsibility of King Abdullah in this regard goes beyond the holy places' physical integrity, maintenance and upkeep. Given the growing threats on East Jerusalem, especially in the wake of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last year and the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem last week, the very existence of the Palestinians in Jerusalem and their steadfastness are at stake and require massive economic, political and social support.

That is why a fund for the holy sites and the well-being of the Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem has become a pressing need. Unfortunately, the extraordinary OIC summit in Istanbul failed to give tangible expression to this side of the issue. This can still be rectified by follow-up contacts between the members of the OIC, through its secretariat.

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