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Jordan and Jerusalem's Islamic sanctuaries

July 20, 2013 at 4:59 pm

The issue of Jerusalem is at the core of the Palestinian cause, which in turn is at the core of the conflict with Zionism. In other words, the issue of Jerusalem cannot be viewed in isolation from the Palestine-Israel conflict. Thus, when examining the dimensions of Jordan’s relationship to the Palestinian cause, particularly with regard to Jerusalem’s Islamic sanctuaries, a discussion of the beginnings of this relationship is important.

The Hashemite relationship with Jerusalem dates back to the establishment of the Emirate of Transjordan following World War I, and the Hashemite compensation for the loss of the Hejaz and the two Holy sanctuaries of Makkah and Madinah. Transjordan was established in 1921, after the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 and the Balfour Declaration of 1917. Transjordan, like Palestine, was Britain’s stake in the Franco-British agreement after it reneged on its promise to Shariff Hussein bin Ali to help him establish a single Arab state in exchange for the Arabs joining the Allies against the axis during the First World War (1914-1918). Thus, instead of helping to unite the Arabs, Britain, along with France and a number of other colonial countries, undertook to divide the Arabs into tiny states and create division between them as a means of exerting control. This was also done in order to pave the way for the establishment of Israel, “the national homeland of the Jewish people”, at the expense of Palestine and its people.