Report: Israel, Saudis Negotiating Control of Temple Mount

(Unsplash/Laura Siegal)

Israel and Saudi Arabia have been conducting secret negotiations since December about allowing Saudi officials to join the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf responsible for controlling the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Israel Hayom reported.

"These talks are sensitive and clandestine and have been conducted by small teams of diplomats and security officials from Israel, the U.S. and Saudi Arabia as part of the Trump administrations' Peace to Prosperity Middle East initiative," unnamed senior Saudi diplomats told the Israeli paper..

The Waqf oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, claims exclusive control over the Temple Mount, and says it is not subject to Israeli law.

Jordan exclusively funds and manages the Waqf and according to the report, previously objected to any change in the Waqf council. However, Israel Hayom reports that Amman has since reversed its position because it is worried about the level of Turkey's influence in eastern Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

Seven senior Fatah and Palestinian Authority leaders were added to the council last February and opened the door for Turkish Islamic organizations to pump millions of dollars into projects in Jerusalem.

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