Photo Credit: Sliman Khader / Flash 90
Thousands of Muslims perform prayers on the first Friday in the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. June 4, 2017

{Originally posted to the JCPA website}

In east Jerusalem, just below the surface, changes are taking place. These tectonic shifts are very worrisome to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Jordan. The penetration of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf to east Jerusalem at the expense of Ramallah is very unattractive to them. The Islamic Liberation Party, Hizb ut-Tahrir, supported by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf recently engaged in a heated theological disagreement over the exact timing of the end of the Ramadan holiday.

Jordanian imam being rescued from a mob on the Temple Mount in 2015. (Arab media)
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It appears that substantial funds reached a new organization that deals with east Jerusalem affairs. This organization is headed by Prof. Sari Nusseibeh and is tied to the Gulf. Sources in east Jerusalem state that this new organization is now looking to open a network of offices in the eastern part of the city.

Hizb ut-Tahrir, Islamic Liberation

The Islamic Liberation Party Hizb ut-Tahrir has a prominent presence on the Temple Mount, and in the past attacked high-ranking representatives from Jordan and Ramallah. If the party does move to support Saudi Arabia, both sides will face serious challenges. In addition to these difficulties, Jordan and the PLO do not trust each other.

Prof. Sari Nusseibeh on the Temple Mount
Prof. Sari Nusseibeh on the Temple Mount, outside of the Dome of Rock. (Facebook Picture from “Once Upon a Country,” by Sari Nusseibeh, Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

Sari Nusseibeh disagrees with Ramallah on many issues. He represents the local leadership, while the leadership of the PLO has its roots in Tunis and the Oslo agreement. Mahmoud Abbas represents the PLO locally.

 

(Pinhas Inbari is a veteran Arab affairs correspondent who formerly reported for Israel Radio and Al Hamishmar newspaper, and currently serves as an analyst for the JCPA)

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The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) is a leading independent research institute specializing in public diplomacy and foreign policy. Founded in 1976, the Center has produced hundreds of studies and initiatives by leading experts on a wide range of strategic topics.