AMMAN: The Islamic Waqf department in Jerusalem issued a statement thanking King Abdullah of Jordan for the Jordanian Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs’ decision to waive rent payments for 2020 on all endowed (waqf) properties in Jerusalem rented by individuals of any religion.
More than 350,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, many of them in rented homes. Religious endowments have historically been a method of safeguarding properties in the city from confiscation by various occupiers over the course of many wars. The majority of properties in the Old City, in particular, are endowed, with most belonging to religious establishments or to families who have endowed them.
Wasfi Kailani, director of the Royal Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa, said the decision was good news for thousands of Jerusalemites. “Since most of the Old City is (endowed) real estate, at least 1,300 Jerusalem households, shops, private schools, churches, hotels, offices, companies, health centers, hospitals, youth associations, and other institutions will benefit from the decision,” Kailani told Arab News.
The statement by the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem noted that the decision will provide people, businesses and institutions with some security in the difficult times that the world is experiencing due to the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
Khalil Assali, a member of the Jerusalem Waqf, called on other property owners to waive rent too. “This is the time for property owners to follow the leadership of the king and waive rental to their tenants,” he said.
Arab News has learned that a number of landowners, religious institutions and family endowment directors are considering making a similar decision.