NEW YORK—Jordan’s King Abdullah II claimed during his address at the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that “Christianity in the Holy City is under fire” and expressed concern over the status quo in Jerusalem.

“The rights of churches in Jerusalem are threatened. This cannot continue. Christianity is vital to the past and present of our region and the Holy Land. It must remain an integral part of our future,” he said.

However, the king did not specify how Christianity is being threatened, nor who is to blame. While he did not specifically blame Israel, the Israeli police control access to the Temple Mount, known as Haram al Sharif to Muslims. The site – home to al-Aqsa Mosque – is a frequent flashpoint for tensions and violence between Muslims and Israeli police and sometimes Jewish worshippers.

Another recent concern of Christians has been the sales of church land to Jewish organizations, which directly impacts the demographics of the city.

Abdullah said that as a Muslim he is nevertheless “committed to defending the rights, the precious heritage, and the historic identity of the Christian people of our region.”

“Nowhere is that more important than in Jerusalem,” he added.

Abdullah has frequently said that Jordan is also custodian of Christian sites in Jerusalem.

The Temple Mount is considered the holiest site in Judaism while Haram al Sharif is Islam’s third holiest.

“Undermining Jerusalem’s legal and historical status quo triggers global tensions and deepens religious divides. The Holy City must not be a place for hatred and division,” he said

The king also called for a two-state resolution based on the pre-1967 borders in his address to the international body.

“A founding U.N. principle is the right to self-determination for all peoples. The Palestinian people, with their resilient national identity, cannot be denied this right,” he said. “And the road forward is the two-state solution, in accordance with U.N. resolutions – a sovereign, viable, and independent Palestinian state, on the 4th of June 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side-by-side with Israel in peace, security, and prosperity,” he said.

Abdullah later met with Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid who is also attending the U.N. convention. According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the two discussed matters of bi-lateral interest, including economic and civilian cooperation.

Lapid also told the king that Palestinian terror must stop before the Jewish New Year begins next week.

“Israel will not stand idly by and will fight terrorism directed against it in all its forms, and will not allow harm to the security of its citizens,” he said.

Despite any veiled criticism of Israel by Abdullah, the meeting apparently was amicable. Under Lapid and alternate-Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s government, relations between Israel and Jordan have improved dramatically compared to rancorous ties under former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Jordan is an important strategic partner of Israel,” Lapid wrote on Twitter. “His Majesty and I discussed bolstering and broadening cooperation between our countries as well as maintaining calm in the region.”

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