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Report: Israel, Jordan discuss giving non-Muslims access to Temple Mount sites

Up until 2000, Jewish and Christian visitors were able to visit the Dome of the Rock

Israel and Jordan are in the midst of negotiations over permitting non-Muslim visitors access to a number of sites on the Temple Mount for the first time in over 15 years, the Haaretz news site reported Tuesday.

According to the report, the two countries have been discussing the matter for several months. Israel is currently responsible for maintaining controls security on the Temple Mount, and has said that opening the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aqsa Mosque to paying visitors would encourage the Muslim Waqf, which oversees the site’s day-to-day religious affairs, to keep the peace in the area.

Jordan is widely accepted as the guardian of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.

Haaretz said that details of the negotiations will be revealed on Tuesday in a report by the International Crisis Group, a Brussels-based NGO.

An Israeli official at the Prime Minister’s Office has denied discussions are taking place.

“There are no negotiations and no change in the status quo at the Temple Mount,” the official was quoted as saying.

However, other unnamed Israeli officials interviewed by Haaretz said Israel would like to see the sites reopened in order to strengthen Jordan’s King Abdullah, as well as to provide a steady stream of revenue from tickets sales to visitors.


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