Tuesday, January 24, 2023
Tel Aviv – (AP)
On Tuesday, a statement issued by the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed his meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II in the capital, Amman. This meeting is rare between the two parties since 2018. The bilateral relations between the two countries are in a state of constant tension due to the renewed dispute over the situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Temple Mount.
After a strained relationship in recent years, Jordan’s King Abdullah II held a rare meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday in Amman, the first since the latter’s recent return to power.
A statement issued by the Royal Court said that the research dealt with the current situation in Al-Aqsa Mosque. A statement issued by Netanyahu’s office confirmed the meeting, noting that it dealt with “regional issues” and cooperation between the two countries.
The last announced meeting between the two parties dates back to 2018.
In 2019, the King of Jordan, who several times described peace with Israel as a “cold peace,” considered relations with it to be “at an all-time low.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, the king affirmed “the need to respect the historical and legal status quo in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram Al-Sharif and not to prejudice it,” according to the royal court’s statement.
He also stressed “the necessity of adhering to the calm and stopping the violence in order to open the way for a political horizon for the peace process,” calling for “the cessation of any measures that undermine the chances of peace.”
The Jordanian monarch expressed “Jordan’s firm position calling for adherence to the two-state solution,” which “guarantees the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the lines of June 4, 1967, with East Jerusalem as its capital, to live in peace and security alongside Israel.”
Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been stalled since 2014.
In Jerusalem, a statement was issued by the Prime Minister’s Office indicating that the meeting “discussed regional issues, with a focus on strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan, which contributes to strengthening regional stability.”
Israeli officials constantly stress that relations with Jordan are essential to national security.
Tension and “good relations”
Relations between Jordan and Israel were strained for many years at several stages while Netanyahu was in power, starting with the Mossad’s attempt to assassinate the former head of the political bureau of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal, in Amman in 1997, through the killing of two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy in Amman in 2017 and Netanyahu’s reception of the killer, and all the way to In 2021, Netanyahu canceled a historic trip to the Emirates after the kingdom refused to open its airspace to his plane.
The Jordanian action came at the time after Tel Aviv obstructed a visit that was scheduled for Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah to Jerusalem to pray at Al-Aqsa on the occasion of the anniversary of Isra and Mi’raj, according to the Jordanian authorities.
Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of the right-wing Likud party, was ousted from power in 2021 by a diverse electoral coalition that lasted less than a year.
King Abdullah met former prime ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid, who succeeded Netanyahu, but the latter returned to the premiership at the end of December after legislative elections in November, the fifth in four years.
An Israeli government source, who preferred not to be named, told Agence France-Presse in Jerusalem that the meeting of the Jordanian monarch and Netanyahu on Tuesday, which was attended by the Jordanian intelligence director and leaders of Israeli security services, “reflects the good relations between the Israeli security services and the Jordanians.”
While Netanyahu was out of power, Israel and Jordan reached an agreement sponsored by the United Arab Emirates and the United States to exchange energy and water, and announced their intention to cooperate in rehabilitating and cleaning the Jordan River.
The Jordanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned the Israeli ambassador to Amman twice this month, the first in protest against the entry of Israeli Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir into the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, and the second in protest against an Israeli policeman blocking the path of the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv when he visited Al-Aqsa.
Israel, which signed a peace treaty with Jordan in 1994, recognizes the Hashemite Kingdom’s supervision and guardianship of Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, like other cities in the West Bank, was subject to Jordanian sovereignty before it was occupied by the Jewish state in 1967.
Al-Aqsa Mosque is the first of the two Qiblas and the third of the Two Holy Mosques after Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina in Saudi Arabia, for Muslims. It is the holiest religious site for the Jews, who call it the Temple Mount.