Temple Mount/Al-Aqsa Is Waiting for Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Bin Salman

T. Belman. Haaretz has it all wrong. Long before normalization with SA takes place, King Abdullah will be gone and Mudar  Zahran will be the leader of Jordan. So what Abdullah says and does is irrelevant. MBS is aware of this and may also have had discussions with Israel as to what happens the day after.  I have known for years that MBS is interested but have yet to hear that Israel is willing. The alternate for Israel is to set up an Israel Wakf which Wakf would not have jurisdiction over the whole Temple Mount, only the Muslim Holy places..  As for the alleged Israeli commitment not to annex Judea and Samaria, she only agreed to suspend annexation for a time.

At the time Kushner said, “Israel has agreed to suspend the annexation, to suspend applying Israeli law to those areas for the time being,” he told the WAM agency. “But in the future it is a discussion that I am sure will be had. But not in the near future.””

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman hasn’t hidden his desire to be the guardian of all of Islam’s holy places — including the Al-Aqsa Mosque — which is causing tension with Jordanian King Abdullah

By Zvi Bar’el, HAARETZ

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman receives Jordan’s King Abdullah ll in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in 2022.
Credit: Saudi Press Agency/Handout via REUTERS

Among a series of hints and signals, slips of the tongue and commentaries in recent weeks over the possible normalization of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia, there’s one explicit decision that remains lacking. Saudi Arabia hasn’t yet clearly stated its position on whether Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman intends to take the step, and if so, subject to what conditions and what time frame would it be carried out?

In addition to Israeli assessments, there have also been U.S. assessments, not all of them optimistic. But some are talking about possible normalization within nine to 11 months. In June, following his visit to Riyadh, the Saudi capital, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said it was complex but possible, and at the same time he linked the process to the issue of violence in the occupied territories, calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to lower the flames there.

That raises the question of whether that’s Blinken’s position or whether it’s messaging to Israel from the Saudi crown prince. On that score, too, Saudi Arabia isn’t being explicit about what it would be satisfied with. It can be assumed that a replay of Netanyahu’s “historic” declaration in advance of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates – that Israel is committed not to annex the territories – would be considered used merchandise in the Saudi view, something that had already been sold to the UAE, the previous Arab customer. The assumption is that anyone seeking to clinch the most important achievement – peace with Riyadh – would have to pay in harder currency.

It should also be mentioned when asked about it, President Donald Trump, the broker of the Abraham Accords, which included normalization with UAE and other Arab countries, said Israeli annexation in the West Bank was “more than just off the table.”

“Well, not off the table,” Trump said. “No. It’s something they’ve discussed, but Israel has agreed not to do that. I mean, more than just off the table, they have agreed not to do it. And I think that was very important, and I think it was a great concession by Israel, and I think it was a very smart concession by Israel.”

As confused and encouraging and promising as the president’s remarks were, the American ambassador to Israel at the time, David Friedman, made it clear that he wasn’t entirely certain about the finality of the commitment. Asked repeatedly in Trump’s presence about the duration of the Israeli commitment, Friedman replied: “We’ve prioritized peace over the sovereignty movement, but it’s not off the table. It’s just something that will be deferred until the – we give peace every single chance.”

Friedman later added: “The word ‘suspend’ was chosen carefully by all the parties. ‘Suspend,’ by definition – look it up – that means ‘temporary halt.’ It’s off the table now, but it’s not off the table permanently.”

So is it a suspension or is it off the table? Who are we to believe? And now Israel wants to market these nuances to one of the Middle East’s biggest manipulators. Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed knows Netanyahu well. He has received up-to-date and detailed reports from both senior American officials and from the ruler of the UAE, Mohammed bin Zayed – prior to the deep rift that developed between the two. The structure of the so-called Israeli cabinet is also not foreign to the Saudi crown prince, and he understands that any Israeli proposal on the Palestinian question carries no more weight than the paper it’s written on.

Nor can the crown prince rely on President Joe Biden, who so far hasn’t shown that he’s able to halt the establishment of a single unauthorized Israeli outpost in the West Bank, or halt thuggish crimes by Israelis there or dictate regional rules of the game to Israel, particularly regarding the Palestinians. But there still may be a tangible concession that the Saudi crown prince could obtain.

“Let’s assume that bin Salman really wants to obtain a tangible achievement for the Palestinians in return for normalization with Israel, and let’s assume that Israel, in its yearning for normalization with Saudi Arabia, would agree to the drafting of a document with understandings that would offer future specifications for the Palestinians’ economic and political status. Who could bin Salman obtain guarantees from that Israel would meet its obligations? How could he ensure that the day after the signing of a normalization agreement, he wouldn’t be left with Israeli promises lacking any validity after he’s already delivered the goods?”

These remarks were from a Jordanian journalist, who, in speaking with Haaretz, sought to note several promises that Israel had made to Jordan regarding Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and how on a daily basis, in the Jordanian royal court of King Abdullah, they’re afraid that Israel’s radical-right national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, “has carried out another maneuver that would make the king look invisible.”

But the Jordanians’ deep concern isn’t only about rising violence in the West Bank. Israeli normalization with Saudi Arabia could exclude the Jordanian monarch’s special role on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and give Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed senior status there, despite the provisions of the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty. The Saudi crown prince hasn’t hidden his desire to be guardian of all of Islam’s holy places, which has caused tension with Jordan’s king.

Saudi Arabia’s announcement this month of the appointment of its ambassador to Amman to also be its consul to Jerusalem rattled officials in Amman no less than it raised questions in Israel. Is this the price that Prince Mohammed is demanding? Does Israel intend to pay for normalization with Saudi Arabia in Jordanian dinars?

August 24, 2023 | 6 Comments »

Leave a Reply

6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. @dreuveni I agree that Israel should have complete control over the Temple Mount but incitement and discrimination against Jews should not be tolerated.

  2. Ted,
    how long have you been posting about Mudar?? Years and NOTHING so far.
    is Mudar coming when moshiach comes???

  3. The transfer of the guardianship of the Temple Mount Moslem facilities from Jordan to Saudi is NOT in Israel’s gift as the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan returned the wakf to Jordan. Transfer would need a three way treaty between Israel, Jordan and Saudi so more horse trading over other things.

    Second if Israel offends the Hashemites – who are descendants of the Prophet and so more entitled than the al Saudis to the Haram wakf – Jordan has over two hundred kilometres of frontier with Israel and could be a lot more irritating to Israel by turning a blind eye to border problems than Saudi.

    Finally the Saudis are being greedy.

  4. So with all the ongoing political hot-air balloons, how many Arab promises have been held and how many Israeli promises have been broken?
    Israel should retain complete control over the temple mount and allow Muslim entities to control what goes on inside the mosque as long as no weapons are brought in.