Defence of Al Quds meet begins in Doha today
DOHA THE stage is set for the two-day International Conference for the Defence of Al Quds (Jerusalem) that kicks off in Doha on Sunday.
The conference, to be opened by the Emir His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani, will have more than 350 experts, researchers and historians representing more than 70 Arab and non-Arab countries participating.
The meet comes in the backdrop of an Israeli bid to occupy more Palestinian land and obliterate Jerusalem’s Arab identity. The conference gains added significance in the wake of recent events in the Arab world, especially changes in the countries that share borders with Israel like Syria and Egypt.
It is expected to find ways to defend Jerusalem against the Israeli plan for its future in 2020.
Israel points out that more than 60 experts from different countries have participated in the 2020 plan. But for Palestinians living in Jerusalem, it represents a chaos as they are set to lose land.
The success of the meet will hinge on the road map for development of various sectors and strengthening of P a l e s t i n i a n political, economic, and cultural life in the city, besides protecting its religious and architectural character.
The conference is also expected to issue a resolution to make up the losses incurred by the economy of Jerusalem and Palestine estimated at $48 million.
According to sources, a resolution adopted at the Arab summit in Sirte to provide $500 million aid to the city would also be discussed.
The aid is meant to help Jerusalem inhabitants preserve their city and its Arab, Islamic as well as Christian identities. Arab States have so far contributed only $37 million, a shade over seven percent of the amount.
Qatar, on its part, has sought to channel its assistance for the people of J e r u s a l e m through the Permanent National Committee in Support of Jerusalem, which meets annually in Doha. A 106-floor tower has been proposed as an endowment for the city. The proposal suggests that all income from the tower will go towards the support of Jerusalem.
This conference is the second such hosted by Qatar. The Jerusalem Conference held in October 2008, called upon governments of Arab and Islamic countries not to consider it as merely a Palestinian affair and called for the protection of the civil, spiritual, and cultural heritage of Jerusalem.
Condemning the excavations conducted under Al Aqsa Mosque and the effort to paint the excavated artefacts as proof of Jewish claims, it called upon these countries to accord the issue of Jerusalem more importance. “We are in a critical stage in the history of the conflict over Jerusalem, and what is happening now, or what will happen in the next few years will decide the fate of Al Aqsa Mosque”, the statement issued at the end of the conference said.