Statement by HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal following recent events at the Haram al Sharif, Jerusalem


On Friday 14th July, two Israeli police officers and three Arab Israeli gunmen were killed within the Haram al Sharif compound.

This raises the eternal question of Jerusalem and the management of holy space. Sadly religion, and the way we worship, is being politicised and used as a means of posture. Can the people of Jerusalem – the living, breathing city, not just a city of heritage – ever live in peace without a clear definition of the management of holy space in Jerusalem? This great city, at the heart of the three greatest religions in the world, deserves clarity – for without clarity, we can only expect more pain, more bloodshed, and more unbridled anger.

Political definitions of state sovereignty do not change the attitudes of Arabs, Christian and Muslim, and Jews. For them, for us, the issues surrounding Jerusalem are emotional, spiritual – ethereal and legal.

Extremists of all stripes emphasize the importance of the rights of the Almighty over us, but where do God’s servants turn to for recognition of their rights? Religious authorities from all sides must sit down and talk.

The polarization, or the polarity, of Jewish and Arab extremists negates rationality in addressing the Jerusalem issue of holy space and opens the door to internationalization, symbolized by the flags of the United Nations

and its partners. But is it not time to go further and call for universal, oecumenical, religious, moral custodianship of the holy spaces, sharing in the excellences of Jerusalem and bringing joy to all its people?