Photo Credit: Mati Amar / TPS
Dome of the Rock mosque on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem

Israel and Riyadh are reportedly engaged in secret talks to include Saudi Arabia in the Islamic Waqf at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, according to a report published Monday by Israel Hayom.

The talks have been ongoing since last December through American mediation, according to senior Saudi diplomats who spoke with the news outlet.

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Until recently, Amman had objected to any alterations in the membership of the Waqf Council, which oversees the Temple Mount compound in the Old City of Jerusalem. However, the Hashemite monarchy has revised its opinion due to the escalating intensity of Turkish interference in eastern Jerusalem and particularly in the affairs of the Temple Mount.

The talks between Israel and Saudi officials have meanwhile been taking place against the backdrop of US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, which includes Israel’s intention to extend sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and to Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

“These talks are sensitive and clandestine and have been conducted by small teams of diplomats and security officials from Israel, the US and Saudi Arabia as part of the Trump administrations’ Peace to Prosperity Middle East initiative,” senior Saudi diplomats familiar with the details confirmed to Israel Hayom.

Jordan needs help from Saudi Arabia in order to block the infringement of Turkey on its territory as sole caretaker of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

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