Jordan to organize int’l conference on Al Aqsa mosque

By Laith al-Junaidi

AMMAN (AA) – Jordan will organize an international conference in support of East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al Aqsa mosque compound on Dec. 20, according to the country’s Islamic affairs minister.

“The Aqsa mosque is facing grave and daily violations and incursions that provoke the sentiments of all Muslims and Arabs,” Minister of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs Abdul Nasser Abul Basal said in a statement on Monday.

He said Israeli violations have been on the rise against the holy site in recent months.

“This reflects a set plan by the [Israeli] occupation to change the historic and legal status quo in the holy site,” he said.

Jordan oversees Muslim and Christian holy sites in East Jerusalem.

According to a source in the Jordanian Awqaf Ministry, Turkey will participate in the conference with a high-profile delegation.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Middle East War. It formally annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as its capital in a move never recognized by the international community.

Jerusalem remains at the heart of the decades-long Mideast conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem might one day serve as the capital of a Palestinian state.