Jordanian FM warns of Israeli ‘war crimes’ following king's call for long-term Gaza truce

Jordanian FM warns of Israeli ‘war crimes’ following king's call for long-term Gaza truce
Jordanian King Abdullah II has called for a long-term truce leading to a political solution after a ceasefire went into effect in Gaza, as Jordan’s Foreign Minister said expulsion of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah would be a “war crime”.
2 min read
24 May, 2021
King Abdullah said that Jordan would undertake diplomatic efforts to help Palestinians [Getty]

Jordan's foreign minister on Monday called Israel's looming expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district a "war crime", hours after Jordanian King Abdullah II stressed the need for a long-term truce after Israel's deadly assault on Gaza.

A statement from Jordan’s Royal Court, published on Sunday, said that King Abdullah "stressed the importance of intensifying Arab and international efforts to turn the ceasefire in Palestinian territories into a long-term truce which would lead to a political solution giving Palestinians their legitimate rights".

The king added that Jordan would "place all its capabilities and diplomatic relationships in the service of the Palestinian cause", saying that Jordan would work to protect Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem.

Palestinian east Jerusalem was controlled by Jordan until the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when it was occupied by Israel. Jordan's "special role" in maintaining Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem was recognised in the 1994 Wadi Araba peace agreement between Jordan and Israel.

Last month, Israel began a campaign of harassment and intimidation of Palestinian worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, while settler organisations moved to expel dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in east Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district.

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The Palestinian group Hamas launched rockets at Israel from Gaza on 10 May after Israeli forces injured hundreds of worshippers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in an assault. Over 249 Palestinians, including 66 children were killed over the following 11 days by Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

Speaking at a joint press conference in Amman with his Egyptian counterpart on Monday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi said that the expulsion of the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah would be a "war crime" and could lead to a resumption of conflict.

An estimated 500 Palestinians from 28 families are under threat of expulsion after Israeli settler groups laid claim to their property. An Israeli court recently postponed issuing a ruling on the matter.

Safadi said that Jordanian and Egyptian officials had discussed "future action with sister states and the international community to guarantee that there would be no repeat of what happened in Palestinian territories".

"We want to guarantee that the ceasefire continues and stop any provocations in Jerusalem," he added.