“Jerusalem is no more Jordanian than is Rome. Why should Jordan only be granted custodian status over Jerusalem?”
Jerusalem, January 11 – Responding to recurring Arab and Western insistence that the Hashemite kingdom to its east be granted official status as guardian of this disputed city’s sacred places, the Jewish State today remarked that such half-measures would go nowhere, and instead suggested that Jordan be given special international status that would also place in its care the various religious buildings and facilities of Vatican City in Rome.
David Keyes, spokesman for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, told reporters at a press conference this morning that the idea of placing holy sites, including Jewish ones, under Jordanian control, represented a paucity of imagination. If King Abdullah and his kingdom are to be given the responsibility to oversee protection of other religions’ holy sites, Keyes argued, it makes no sense to restrict that responsibility and privilege to Jerusalem.
“Jerusalem is no more Jordanian than is Rome,” he observed. “Why, then, should Jordan only be granted custodian status over Jerusalem? The Hashemites have already demonstrated the care they show for holy sites when they had control of eastern Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967, and that precedent should serve to reassure all interested parties of the treatment Vatican City would get if the international community were to take a consistent position on the matter of Jerusalem.”
Keyes pointed to the 52 synagogues destroyed and the desecration to the ancient Jewish cemetery at the Mount of Olives that occurred once Jordan assumed control of East Jerusalem in May 1948, expelling or imprisoning all Jews in the territory it conquered. “The enlightened custodianship Jordan has bestowed upon this ancient city, holy to three faiths, should receive more attention,” he contended. “I do not see why all holy cities throughout the world should be deprived of the kind of care and tolerance Jordan has shown Jerusalem, and of course Vatican City would be the best place to implement such an arrangement next, given then density of holy sites in its environs and vicinity.”
Once Jordanian custodianship takes hold in Vatican City, the proposal calls for Jordanian care to be extended to all of Rome, and eventually all of Europe. “The Cathedrals and venerable shrines of the Continent should benefit from Jordan’s protection,” read a statement distributed to journalists at the end of the conference. “While we doubt that Europe’s Christian graveyards have tombstones conducive to their use in the construction of roads and latrines, Israel remains confident that Jordan will show the same kind of creative approach to European, Christian holy sites that it did when it controlled parts of Jerusalem.”
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