Jordan has renewed its call on Israel to stop digging near Umayyad palaces and in the Silwan neighborhood, stressing they remain an indivisible part of East Jerusalem Al-Quds.
The Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv dispatched a memorandum to Israel’s Foreign Ministry, protesting the regime’s excavation work in these areas.
The memorandum denoted two huge landslides on January 3 and 18 caused by Israeli digging operations, warning such activities pose a real and growing threat to the area, the lives of Arab citizens and the historic buildings that fall under the authority of the Islamic Awqaf Department in Al-Quds.
The document also reminded Israel of its commitments under the international law as an occupation force, including its obligations under The Hague Convention of 1954 for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.
Amman stressed that Israeli excavation activity in the tunnels leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the second holiest site in the Muslim world, endangers the walls of the Old City and the pillars of the highly revered site.
Despite official protests presented to Tel Aviv to stop these practices, Israeli excavations in the area of the Umayyad palaces and the removal of historic stones have continued apace, the memorandum complained.
Demanding a response from the Israeli side, the document further urged Tel Aviv to fulfill its obligation as an occupying power to prevent any practices that may adversely affect the unity, unique character and cultural identity of Al-Quds.
The Israeli army seized East Al-Quds, along with the rest of the West Bank, from Jordan in the aftermath of the six-day war in 1967, and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community.
Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994 where Tel Aviv acknowledged Amman’s right to look after both the Islamic and Christian holy places in the occupied territory.
In late February, Jordanian King Abdullah called on the international community to take immediate measures to protect the holy sites in East Al-Quds against Israeli efforts he condemned as aimed at altering the Holy City’s identity.
Abdullah also noted his country’s rejection of Israel’s decision to include Rachel’s Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs on its list of national heritage sites.