by: Kate Norman
Wednesday, 25 January 2023 | Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Jordan on Tuesday to meet with King Abdullah II in a visit that was only publicized after the fact.
In their first public meeting since 2018, Netanyahu and the king “discussed regional issues, especially strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan, which contributes to regional stability,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
“They also praised the long-standing friendship and partnership between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom,” the statement continued.
The visit was also Netanyahu’s first trip out of Israel since returning to his position as prime minister last month. Though Israel and Jordan signed a formal peace treaty in 1994, relations between the neighboring countries have been chilly.
The Jordanian statement on the meeting highlighted different subjects of discussion.
“King Abdullah stressed the importance of respecting the historical and legal status quo in Al Aqsa Mosque/Al Haram Al Sharif,” the Hashemite palace said in a statement, referring to the mosque constructed on the Temple Mount.
The Temple Mount is where the First and Second Temples once stood, making it the holiest site in Judaism. Now the site holds the Al Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
The site was under Jordanian control until Israel recaptured eastern Jerusalem in the defensive Six Day War in 1967. To maintain peace, Israel allowed Jordan to retain its role as “custodian” of the holy sites in Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount.
Under the status quo, only Muslims are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. Jews and people of other religions are allowed to visit but not to pray.
Earlier this month, Israel’s new national security minister, Itamar Ben-Gvir, drew a hailstorm of international condemnation when he visited the Temple Mount.
“The Temple Mount is the most important place for the people of Israel,” Ben-Gvir said at the time of his visit, as quoted by the Times of Israel. “The Temple Mount is open to all—Muslims, Christians and yes, Jews too.”
Another recent incident at the site drew ire when the Jordanian ambassador to Israel was briefly delayed by Israeli police to double check his documents.
In both incidents, the Israeli ambassador to Jordan was summoned for a dressing down. However, in the second incident, the Israeli ambassador received a letter from the Jordanian foreign ministry that the Times of Israel described as “measured and showed a desire to move on,” citing an Israeli official.
The Jordanian king in meeting with Netanyahu also “stressed the need to maintain calm and cease all acts of violence in order to pave the way for a political horizon for the peace process, calling for an end to any measures that could undermine peace prospects,” the Jordanian statement continued.
King Abdullah II also reaffirmed Jordan’s support of a two-state solution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict that would see an independent Palestinian state on the pre-1967 lines with eastern Jerusalem as its capital, the Jordanian statement added.
Netanyahu and the king were joined by Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi, director of the king’s office Jafar Hassan, General Intelligence Department Director Maj. Gen. Ahmad Husni as well as Netanyahu’s delegation from Israel, according to the Hashemite statement.
Posted on January 25, 2023
Source: (Bridges for Peace, January 25, 2023)
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