Muslims on the Temple Mount (illustrative)
Muslims on the Temple Mount (illustrative) Suleiman Qader, Flash 90

Since December 2019, Israel and Saudi Arabia have been holding secret talks, brokered by the US, regarding placing Saudi representatives on the Islamic Waqf responsible for the Temple Mount, Israel Hayom reported.

The Waqf is the Jordanian body which holds administrative authority over the Temple Mount.

According to the Monday morning report, senior Saudi diplomats who are involved in the discussions confirmed that "these are sensitive and secret negotiations which have been conducted with ambiguity and at a low intensity, via a small staff of diplomats and senior security sources in Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia, as part of negotiations to advance the Deal of the Century."

According to a senior Saudi diplomat, until a few months ago the Jordanians fiercely opposed any changes to the makeup of the Islamic Waqf on the Temple Mount, but Turkey's intense involvement in Jerusalem in general and the Temple Mount in particular have caused Jordan to rethink the matter.

Following the violent events at the Golden Gate and Al Aqsa Mosque, Jordan expanded the Waqf, and in a move which contradicts the Oslo agreements, allowed the Palestinian Authority (PA) to join the Waqf. However, the PA members allowed Islamic-Turkish organizations to gain a foothold at the site, by creating funds through which the Turkish government funnels tens of millions of dollars, at the direct request of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

As such, the Jordanians sent messages to Israel and the US that the royal palace is ready to soften its stance regarding the integration of Saudi Arabian representatives in the Waqf, as long as certain conditions were met and Jordan's own unique role on the Temple Mount and on condition that Saudi Arabia send millions of dollars as a donation to the Islamic organizations operating in Jerusalem's Arab neighborhoods and on the Temple Mount, and use diplomatic and political pressure to remove the Islamic Turkish organizations operating under the auspices of the PA.