A video report by Randa Darwish, which appeared on the BBC Arabic website on April 7th and related to that day’s violence on Temple Mount, repeatedly erred on the topic of Jordan’s alleged “custodianship” over Jerusalem’s Christian sites:
[text and film] “the Hashemite custodianship, which grants Jordan the right to oversee and administer […] the Muslim and Christian holy places in the city of Jerusalem.”
[film] “custodianship over Jerusalem’s holy places goes back to 1924 […] in 1994, Israel and Jordan signed the […] agreement, enshrining Jordan’s custodianship and role in protecting Jerusalem’s holy places.”
[filmed interviewee Hayel Daoud, former Jordanian minister of Awqaf] “the custodianship agreement has utmost importance in protecting […] Muslim and Christian holy places in Noble Jerusalem.” [emphasis added]
However, as CAMERA Arabic has previously pointed out:
- According to the 1994 peace agreement, the Jordanian “special role” (not custodianship) recognised by Israel extends to Muslim sites only.
- This is also the only type of role that dates back to 1924, with Christian-majority nations including France, Sweden, Greece, Ethiopia and the UK being responsible for Christian sites at the time.
- While the earliest Jordanian legislation concerning the administration of Jerusalem’s Christian sites dates back to the 1950s, Jordan itself forwent that role as early as 1988, retaining only custodianship over the Muslim sites.
- The only international organisation ever to recognise Jordan’s alleged “Christian custodianship” is an Islamic one; no independent nation – Christian, Muslim or otherwise – has ever done so individually, unlike the case of the Muslim sites.
None of those facts were presented to Mr. Daoud or the viewers during his BBC interview.
“Jordan’s custodianship (or special role) in Jerusalem’s holy sites… extends to Muslim sites only”.
CAMERA Arabic contacted the BBC regarding this recurring error by its Arabic service and received the following response on May 3rd:
“The editors of the Arabic Service […] have reviewed the video with their colleagues in the Amman bureau. The video has been amended to reflect the correct facts about Jordan’s role with regards to the sites in Jerusalem.
We apologise for the errors.”
Accordingly, all references to Christian sites were removed from the item and the video is now 28 seconds shorter as a result. The text was corrected as follows:
“Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and Holy Places described what had happened as violating al-Aqsa and Jerusalem’s holy places, drawing on the Hashemite custodianship, which grants Jordan the right to oversee and administer al-Aqsa Mosque and the Muslim and Christian holy places in the city of Jerusalem.”