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Egypt, Jordan, PA accuse Israel of illegal measures that undermine opportunities for peace

Leaders call on Israel to maintain the status quo of the Temple Mount at Cairo Summit

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II and P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas at a tripartite summit in Cairo, Jan. 17, 2023 (Photo: WAFA/Handout)

During the Egyptian-Jordanian-Palestinian Tripartite Summit in Cairo on Tuesday, the three countries’ leaders issued a statement citing a “need to halt illegal unilateral Israeli measures that undermine the two-state solution and opportunities of achieving just and comprehensive peace.”

The summit marked the first time the three leaders – Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Jordanian King Abdullah II and P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas – have met since Israel’s November elections, which resulted in a new government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The composition of the government has raised concerns about possible changes in the status of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Temple Mount, areas occupied by the Kingdom of Jordan for 19 years following Israel’s War of Independence in 1948. 

The summit officially announced the leaders’ support for a “two-state solution,” based on the territorial lines in place prior to 1967, when Jordan’s acts of war against the young modern State of Israel lost the kingdom and the aforementioned areas. 

El-Sisi, Abdullah and Abbas also jointly acknowledged their support for making “East Jerusalem” the capital of a Palestinian state, which would divide the Israeli capital into two parts and set it apart from the Old City of Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and several Jerusalem neighborhoods.

The three leaders also called on Israel to maintain the status quo of the Temple Mount, referring to it as “the entire area of Al-Aqsa Mosque.” 

The leaders mentioned preserving “the historical and legal status in Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian sanctities,” including keeping the site as a place of worship for Muslims only. 

Egypt, Jordan and the P.A. have never acknowledged any Jewish connections to the Temple Mount or other Jewish holy sites in the land of Israel, despite historical Islamic recognition of them prior to 1967. This connection is laid out in the book: Islam, Jews and the Temple Mount: The Rock of Our/Their Existence, authored by Yitzhak Reiter and Dvir Dimant.

At the summit, the leaders also agreed on the need for reconciliation between Fatah, the ruling party of the P.A., and Hamas, the terrorist organization ruling the Gaza Strip, asserting that reconciliation is “necessary for the Palestinian people and in their interest.” 

The top government officials called on the international community to continue its support of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The agency has a history of supporting a racist curriculum and causing incitement in Palestinian-controlled schools.

In 2018, then-Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis caused an uproar when he said that the UNRWA actively contributes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

“It provides the ammunition to continue the conflict,” he said during a German-language interview at the time. “By supporting UNRWA, we are keeping the conflict alive.” 

Instead, Cassis recommended supporting Jordanian institutions that endeavor to integrate Palestinians into Jordanian society. 

Despite Jordan having a Palestinian majority, the country has a checkered history regarding citizens of Palestinian background. In 2010, the country came under fire for stripping some Palestinians of their citizenship with no clear legal basis. 

Both Egypt and Jordan have formal peace agreements with Israel, but they continue to have strained relationships with the Jewish state, largely because of their connection to the P.A. 

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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