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Palestinian religious leader declines invitation from Knesset committee for Al-Aqsa discussion

The Director of Jerusalem’s Religious Endowments (Waqf) Foundation, Sheikh Azzam Al-Khatib, has declined an invitation from the Israeli parliament to discuss the effects of the demolition of monuments in Al-Aqsa Mosque with the Committee for Education and Sports. A statement from Al Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage, which deals with the affairs of Islamic holy sites, said that Sheikh Al-Khatib rejected the application of any Israeli law on Al-Aqsa Mosque.


“Al-Aqsa is far too important to be discussed by a committee in the Knesset at the request of two members of the Israeli extremist right-wing,” the Foundation said. “People like Arieh Eldad and Tzipi Hutobala respect neither the religious sanctities of others nor the treaties concluded between Jordan and Israel, which include recognition of the right of Jordan to protect the Islamic and Christian sanctities and all other Waqf property.”

Sheikh Al-Khatib added, “The Talmudic doctrine of the right-wing warns of igniting a religious war, and we consider the invitation to discuss what they claim to be the demolition of monuments in Al-Aqsa Mosque a provocative step to inflame the feelings of Muslims worldwide.”

He said serious complications would result from Israeli attempts to apply the Israeli Law of Monuments to Al-Aqsa Mosque, “because this mosque is not subject to any laws and is only subject to the Islamic rule”. This is a concern for the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims, said the Sheikh. “No party has the right to intervene in the affairs of Jerusalem’s Islamic symbols at all. The endowment authority has the absolute power to reconstruct the mosque and implement all building projects without interference from anyone.”

The Sheikh said that he valued the position of the Jordanian delegation in the meetings of the UNESCO Executive Board held in Paris last week, with regard to the discussion of sensitive issues related to the city of Jerusalem, and the subsequent international consensus on the Moroccans’ Hill. Such procedure obliges Israel not to take a one-sided action in this region without the consent of the Jordanian government and the Islamic Waqf, which insists on the restoration of the hill with acceptable schemes.

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