Israeli President Isaac Herzog proposed establishing a joint committee between Israel and Arab states that normalized ties with Tel Aviv, to coordinate over Al-Aqsa Mosque, diplomatic sources revealed on Monday.
Herzog’s suggestion came last Sunday during a phone conversation with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
It was still unclear whether the Israeli President received the approval of the Israeli government, which has the authority to take such decisions.
Political sources expected that the move could spark a severe political dispute if it is not approved by the cabinet.
Herzog told his critics that all peace plans that were proposed by the previous Israeli governments spoke of a partnership between Israel, the Palestinian leadership and a number of Arab countries with an aim to manage the affairs of the holy sites in Jerusalem.
He stressed that the countries that would participate in the committee are Egypt, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Morocco.
On Monday, an unprecedented calm prevailed over Al-Aqsa Mosque where Muslims performed Eid al-Fitr prayers to cap off the holy month of Ramadan. Israeli forces reduced their presence to a minimum and refrained from entering its compound.
“There were more than 200,000 worshipers,” said Sheikh Omar al-Kiswani, the holy site’s chief imam.
Activists distributed gifts to children, who came to the mosque with their families.
Thousands of Palestinians gathered in front of the Qibli Mosque, waving the Palestinian flag and a green banner.
Palestinians chanted, “With soul and blood, we will redeem you, Al-Aqsa,” “God is great,” and “Freedom, freedom.”
Hamas activists also hung a large banner on the porch opposite the Al-Qibli Mosque, showing a man in military uniform, carrying a rocket launcher, and inscribed on it, “The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas, congratulates the Arab and Islamic nation on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr.”
Right-wing parties in Israel criticized Israeli police for not intervening to bar the Palestinian political protests against Israeli sovereignty.
However, the Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement praising the government’s firm and wise actions in the face of violence, adding that Western countries have shown more understanding of Israeli policy than ever before.