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Is Riyadh really pushing for control of Jerusalem holy sites?

Saudi Arabia is boosting its efforts to take over Jordan's administration of Jerusalem's holy sites, and many think the pressure is coming from Saudi efforts to drum up support for the US peace plan for the Mideast.

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Saudi Arabia is currently investing a great deal of behind-the-scenes effort into taking away from Jordan its guardianship of the holy sites of Jerusalem, a senior official in the Palestinian Authority (PA) told Al-Monitor on condition of anonymity. The pressure seems linked to the Saudis' friendly relations with the United States, and with President Donald Trump's desire to win Arab support for his Middle East peace plan, which Jordan has not backed.

This revelation aligns with a June 22 report from Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the Jordanian monarchy is worried about Saudi Arabia's intent to deprive Jordan of its guardianship. Several peace agreements signed with Israel, such as the Jordan-Israel peace treaty of 1994, guaranteed Jordan's guardianship. In March 2013, PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II signed the Convention on the Defense of Jerusalem and the Holy Sites with the aim of entrenching Jordanian guardianship over these sites.

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