The Jordan Times (Editorial)
October 28, 2009 - 12:00am

Tension flared up again recently in Al Aqsa Mosque compound, in the Holy City of Jerusalem, when Israeli security forces clashed with Palestinian worshippers, injuring some and forcing scores of others to take refuge in the mosque.

News that some ultra-orthodox Jewish groups plan to worship in the Noble Sanctuary that houses one of Islam’s holiest places, in a bid to lay claim to the Islamic holy sites, no doubt angers the Palestinians.

Continued Israeli excavations in and around the Islamic holy places is only adding to the tension and threatens the eruption of another bloody wave of clashes like the Intifada that was ignited by the visit of former Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon to Al Aqsa compound almost nine years ago.

Under these circumstances, convening a special international conference on Jerusalem would be the right thing to do.

Jerusalem is a particularly sensitive issue, although part and parcel of the entire Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It is a main concern that warrants special attention, due to its highly charged religious overtones.

Holding a special conference on Jerusalem should aim primarily at preventing tension over it from growing to even more serious proportions. This can be done by calling on Israel, in the strongest, most unambiguous terms possible, to desist from threatening the holy places in East Jerusalem and to abide by repeated international resolutions, including those adopted by the UN Security Council, making Israel’s attempts to annex East Jerusalem null and void.

Israel must be held accountable for violating so arrogantly international resolutions on the status of Jerusalem; a special meeting would assist in rehabilitating past decisions on the city and making them relevant and enforceable.

The Arab League should spearhead calls for a meeting on Jerusalem before the situation there gets out of control.

At the same time, all nations, including major powers, can be expected to support such an initiative, having supported practically all previous resolutions adopted by the UN and its specialised agencies on the status and future of Jerusalem.

Solving the crisis in the Holy City could be the key to solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The sooner the international community takes affirmative action on it the closer the parties could get to a peaceful resolution of their broader conflict.


American Task Force on Palestine - 1634 Eye St. NW, Suite 725, Washington DC 20006 - Telephone: 202-262-0017