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    21-Feb-2013

Online News Sites Report Intellectual Clash over Jerusalem between Prince Hassan and Adnan Obu Odeh

 

Jordan Vista

 

Online news websites have been reporting throughout the week on details of what was described as a clash, or an outward difference of opinion, between HRH Prince Hassan and former Royal Court Chief Adnan Abu Odeh at a meeting of the Arab Thought Forum, which the Prince founded and currently chairs.

The meeting, held last week, and chaired by Prince Hassan, was attended by a gathering of researchers, politicians and clergymen from Jordan and Palestine.

A clash reportedly erupted during a heated debate on the status of Jerusalem, particularly Muslim Holy sites, whose guardianship according to the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty is Jordanian. During the meeting, Dr. Mahdi Abdel Hadi, a Palestinian scholar who heads a research think tank based in Jerusalem, raised the issue of who might receive U.S. President Barack Obama when he visits the sites in March during his upcoming trip to Jordan, Palestine and Israel.

While the Israeli political and religious leadership would receive him at the Wailing Wall and the senior Christian clergy will be waiting for him at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, who from the Muslim side would receive him at the Aqsa Mosque, Abdel Hadi reportedly asked. He suggested that Prince Hassan lead a delegation for that purpose since Jordan is the custodian of the Mosque and other holy sites. 

A debate started and became tense when Abdel Hadi spoke about the neglect of Arab Jerusalem and threats to its identity. The discussion escalated when he said that no one yet knows for sure who on the Muslim side will be greeting Obama when he visits the al Aqsa Mosque.

Commenting on Abdul Hadi’s paper, Abu Odeh agrued that the treaty stipulations were insufficient to protect al Aqsa and the rest of the holy shrines in Jerusalem from the dangers of demolition and Judaization. He said he had objected earlier to the wording of those treaty articles and had called for toughening the language so as not to leave room for the Israeli occupiers to take advantage of them, by forcing Jordan’s hand and circumventing its custody of the sites.

At this point, according to online news reports, Prince Hassan intervened to say that he would not allow anyone to cast doubt on his late brother HM King Hussein and to distort his positions and the positions of the Hashemites on Jerusalem and the holy places in Palestine. Mr. Abu Odeh responded by saying that it was provisions of the treaty that he was criticizing and not the intentions and efforts of King Hussein.

The tension that ensued prompted the Prince to protest angrily and to rise to leave the meeting, when Abu Odeh himself volunteered to get up and leave.

Attendees, including Catholic Archbishop Fouad Twal and Senate President Taher Masri, after the departure of Mr. Abu Odeh, tried and succeeded in calming the Prince down and persuaded him to continue his chairmanship of the meeting.

 

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