Jordan on Tuesday sent a letter to the Israeli government voicing its condemnation of the recent seizure of shop rooftops in Jerusalem by a company developing the Old City.Now, I have no idea what sort of development can be done on top of Arab roofs, although I do know that the Jewish Quarter in the Old City extends directly above the Arab souk.
In the letter, delivered through Israeli ambassador in Jordan, the Kingdom requested the Israeli government to “take all the necessary measures to prevent the tampering of Islamic waqfs [religious endowment] in Jerusalem”, according to Minister of State for Media Affairs and Communications and Government Spokesperson Mohammad Momani.
He added that Jordan also demanded the Israeli side to prevent the company in question and other similar entities, including the Israeli municipality, from making any changes to Jerusalem’s Old City that would alter its Arab and Islamic identity, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.
Momani noted that the letter deemed any Israeli attempt to tamper with any Islamic sites in Jerusalem as “an infringement against Article 9 of the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli Peace Treaty”, Petra said.
The Jordanian government received a tip that the Jerusalem Development Company had notified Jerusalem traders on the need to “renovate their shops’ roofs” in preparation for a huge project the company is planning to establish on these roofs, according to Petra.
Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour tasked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with sending a memo to the Israeli government, expressing the Kingdom’s position and reminding the Israeli side of its international obligations.
Did Israel agree not to let any Jews develop parts of the Old City in its peace treaty with Jordan?
Let's look at Article 9, as seen on the Jordanian King Hussein website:
Article 9 - Places of Historical and Religious Significance and Interfaith RelationsThere is nothing there about rooftops or about non-religious buildings in Jerusalem.
1. Each Party will provide freedom of access to places of religious and historical significance.
2. In this regard, in accordance with the Washington Declaration, Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem. When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.
3. The Parties will act together to promote interfaith relations among the three monotheistic religions, with the aim of working towards religious understanding, moral commitment, freedom of religious worship, and tolerance and peace.
It sounds like Jordan is claiming that practically all Arab areas of the Old City are part of the Islamic Waqf, and therefore are holy. But that's not the definition of "holy places" - if it was, then every square centimeter of the Old City is considered a Jewish holy place far more than an Islamic holy place.
Essentially, Israel's peace partner Jordan is trying to twist their agreement to stop Israel from doing anything at all in Jerusalem.
But maybe the Jews want the roofs, to, you know...