An Israeli study centre specialising in Jerusalem affairs has concluded that the Israeli-UAE normalisation agreement makes an unprecedented change in the city’s religious sanctuaries and Muslim rights in the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa. A report by Terrestrial Jerusalem says that the agreement provides legitimacy for Jews to pray inside the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa, which many do already with daily incursions, and limits Muslim rights to pray in occupied Jerusalem.
The NGO is an independent centre that specialises in monitoring the changes and developments taking place in Jerusalem. It is run by well-known Israeli political analyst and activist Daniel Seidman. According to Newsweek, he is “the most knowledgeable person of what is happening in Jerusalem and he hardly misses even moving a pile of dirt from one place to another in the holy city.”
The UAE-Israeli agreement, says the report, involves a significant change in the status of the Holy City in favour of the Israelis. This is done in such a way that it removes any hope that Jerusalem will become the capital of a future Palestinian state.
The specific clause included in the joint UAE-Israel statement issued a few days ago appears at first to be in the interest of the Muslim community: “Muslims who come to Israel in peace have the right to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque.” The centre notes that this is the first time that the term “Al-Aqsa Mosque” has been used in an international document rather than Al-Haram Al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary (of Al-Aqsa).