Sisi reiterates Egypt's rejection of any measures to change status quo of Jerusalem

Ahram Online , Monday 13 Feb 2023

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi reiterated the country's rejection and condemnation of any Israeli measures to change the historical and legal status quo of the city of Jerusalem (known in Arabic as 'Al-Quds') and its sanctities.

Sisi,Abbas, King Abdullah II
From right to left, Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Arab League Secretary-General, Ahmed Aboul Gheit, attend a conference to support Jerusalem at the Arab League headquarters in Cairo, Egypt, Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. AP


The Egyptian president also underscored the importance of the Hashemite Custodianship, referring to the Jordanian royal family’s historical responsibility to maintain Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem, including Al-Aqsa Mosque as a place of worship exclusively for Muslims.

"Egypt repeats its warning of the dire consequences that may result from a breach of this or an attempt to pre-empt or impose a fait accompli that negatively affects the prospects for final status negotiations between the Palestinian and Israeli sides," El-Sisi said at the Arab League's (AL) 'Jerusalem Support' conference in Cairo on Sunday.

The conference, which comes in the wake of the recent attacks by Israel on Jerusalem and its Islamic and Christian sanctities, is attended by Jordanian King Abdullah II and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas along with high-level representation from Arab, regional and international bodies.

El-Sisi said the critical conditions facing the Palestinian cause jeopardise regional security and the concept of coexistence among the peoples of the region. They also obstruct the two-state solution and force the two parties and the entire Middle East to make tough and dangerous choices.

El-Sisi referred to the continuation of "unilateral measures and the violation of international legitimacy including settlements, demolition of houses, forced displacement, confiscation of land, the systematic Judaisation of Jerusalem as well as illegitimate storming of Al-Aqsa Mosque."

This is in addition to the ongoing storming of Palestinian cities in a manner that only escalates tension on the ground and threatens the security situation, he added.

The Egyptian president highlighted the international resolutions that protect the legal status of Jerusalem, including the UN Security Council's non-recognition of any changes to the 1967 borders, including with regard to Jerusalem, except for what is agreed upon through negotiation.

Egypt has taken the initiative four decades ago to extend the hand of peace to Israel to achieve peace based on justice, and on a just and comprehensive settlement that restores to the Palestinian people their legitimate rights, including the establishment of their independent state, along the borders of 4 June, 1967, he added.

"I confirm that the capital of the state that the Palestinian people and Arab peoples accept and aspire for will remain East Jerusalem," the Egyptian president further noted.

El-Sisi called for the international community and peace partners not to give in to the current political stalemate and work together to implement the two-state solution and provide appropriate conditions for resuming the peace process between Palestine and Israel.

The step, he added, is the cornerstone of the aspirations of the peoples of the region to achieve regional security, stability and peaceful coexistence.

Egypt, El-Sisi stressed, will proceed with addressing the roots causes of the crisis represented by the occupation, and will leave no stone unturned to defend the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, who have long suffered.

The president said Cairo will continue to work with the two parties to the conflict to revive the political track as well as will continue its efforts to deal with the current challenges, including calming the situation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

In addition, Egypt will continue to exert efforts to support the reconstruction of the strip, El-Sisi said, calling on the international community to increase its contribution to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian in Gaza.

"I tell the Palestinian people in all corners of the globe: Yes, you have been suffering for long; your rights are long overdue … yet your cause remains a priority for Egypt and the Arabs, and it is still the fundamental component of our joint action, an integral part in the hearts of the Arab character," El-Sisi said.

"Until your legitimate aspiration for the establishment of your state with East Jerusalem as its capital is fulfilled, we will continue our support for your resilience in Jerusalem and in all corners of Palestine,” El-Sisi added.

The president also called on Israel to promote a culture of peace, co-existence and integration among the peoples of the region.

"It is for this purpose that we have extended our hands with the Arab Peace Initiative that ensures achieving this in a just and comprehensive manner. So let us together put it into force and turn the page of pain for the sake of the coming generations, the Palestinians and Israelis alike,” El-Sisi added.

Addressing the conference, King Abdullah II called on the international community to work on achieving the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people to establish a sovereign and viable state on the 1967 borders with Al-Quds (East Jerusalem) as its capital.

King Abdullah also said the current state requires intensifying efforts to support the Palestinian people, affirming that his country continued efforts to protect the Islamic and Christian holy sites in Al-Quds.

He stressed the importance of maintaining peace on the basis of the two-state solution and ending Israel's storming of Al-Aqsa mosque.

"The Palestinian cause will remain on Jordan's top priorities," he added.

Call for Arab Funds

The Palestinian president called on Arab funds and associations to perform their duty in defending Al-Quds and protecting its identity.

Abbas said Al-Quds is in need of support of Arab and Islamic countries, adding that "it is a religious duty and vital at the humanitarian and national levels."

"We will go to the United Nations for a resolution protecting the two-state solution through granting Palestine full membership," the Palestinian president.

He also lauded an initiative launched by the Qudsona Foundation, Al-Quds empowerment fund and Al-Quds endowment fund for mobilising $70 million financing with plans to up this number to $200 million within the coming five years.

He called for putting into effect the decisions of the Arab summit that was held in Algeria last November.


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