The Palestinians and the Jordanians have set up a joint council for the administration of the Temple Mount and other Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem in an effort to preemptively torpedo the advancement of US President Donald Trump’s regional peace plan.
Yoni Ben-Menachem, a veteran Arab affairs and diplomatic commentator for Israel radio and television and a senior Middle East analyst for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, revealed this information to Israel Hayom in an exclusive report.
Ben-Menachem told the Hebrew daily that the move constitutes “a violation of the Oslo agreement and seriously harms Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem.”
Senior Fatah officials confirmed that cooperation has been accelerated ahead of the peace plan, which Trump said he will reveal shortly after the April 9 elections in Israel.
A senior Palestinian source told Israel Hayom that the establishment of the joint council is a practical step derived from the understandings reached by Jordanian King Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in August 2017, following the crisis of the electronic security monitors, which Israel erected on the Temple Mount after two Israeli police officers were killed in a shooting attack.
The first steps were taken only days ago and comes, according to the report. A senior Fatah official said the move was because the Jordanians and the Palestinians fear that within the framework of the regional peace plan, responsibility for the Temple Mount will be transferred to a joint Arab-Islamic council, granting Saudi Arabia official status around the al-Aqsa mosque.
In contrast, a senior Arab diplomat told the Hebrew daily that the move was made with the agreement of Jordan and Saudi Arabia and was intended to soften Palestinian resistance to the peace plan.
At the end of the month, American advisers Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt are scheduled to arrive in the Middle East to advance the regional peace plan. Abbas has himself already taken some steps to torpedo the plan.