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JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a shock journey to Jordan on Tuesday to fulfill with King Abdullah II for the primary time in over 4 years, searching for to shore up ties which have strained since he took workplace on the helm of Israel’s most right-wing authorities in historical past.
The uncommon assembly between the leaders, who’ve lengthy had a rocky relationship, comes as tensions develop over Israel’s new ultranationalist authorities, which took workplace late final yr. The talks centered across the standing of a contested holy web site within the Previous Metropolis of Jerusalem sacred to each Jews and Muslims, an emotional challenge on the coronary heart of the battle between Israel and the Palestinians, Jordan’s official assertion indicated.
Jordan’s royal court docket mentioned the king urged Israel to respect the established order on the sacred compound, which Muslims name the Noble Sanctuary and Jews name the Temple Mount. The compound — the third-holiest web site in Islam — sits on a sprawling plateau additionally house to the enduring golden Dome of the Rock.
Below an association that has prevailed for many years beneath Jordan’s custodianship, Jews and non-Muslims are permitted visits throughout sure hours however might not pray there. However Jewish spiritual nationalists, together with members of Israel’s new governing coalition, have more and more visited the positioning and demanded equal prayer rights for Jews there, infuriating the Palestinians and Muslims around the globe.
In Tuesday’s assembly, King Abdullah II additionally pushed Israel to “cease its acts of violence” which can be undermining hopes for an eventual peaceable settlement to the decadeslong Israeli-Palestinian battle, the Jordanian authorities added, reaffirming its help for a two-state answer. Israel’s new coalition has vowed to increase Jewish settlements within the occupied West Financial institution and even annex the territory, making a future impartial Palestinian state unviable.
Netanyahu’s workplace mentioned he mentioned “regional points” and safety and financial cooperation with Jordan, a key regional ally. Jordan’s 1994 treaty normalizing ties with Israel produced a chilly-at-best peace between the previous enemies.
The Jordanian authorities has already summoned the Israeli ambassador to Amman twice within the final month since Israel’s new authorities took workplace — each occasions after an incident on the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Netanyahu has repeatedly provided assurances that there was no change in the established order on the web site.
Earlier this month, Israel’s new hard-line minister of nationwide safety, Itamar Ben-Gvir, made a provocative go to to the positioning, drawing condemnations from Jordan and throughout the Arab world. Jordan additionally protested to Israel after Israeli police briefly blocked the Jordanian ambassador from coming into the Al-Aqsa Mosque, decrying the transfer as an affront to Jordan’s function as custodian.
The compound is run by Jordanian spiritual authorities as a part of an unofficial settlement after Israel captured east Jerusalem, together with the West Financial institution and Gaza, within the 1967 Mideast conflict. Israel is in control of safety on the web site. Due to Jordan’s particular function and the positioning’s significance to Muslims around the globe, no matter occurs on the web site has regional implications.
The location emerged as a serious flashpoint between Israel and the Muslim world in 2017, when Israel positioned steel detectors, cameras and different safety measures at entrances to the compound in response to a lethal Palestinian assault there. After days of among the worst Israeli-Palestinian clashes in years, Jordan helped resolve the disaster.
Over time, the neighbors have maintained an important safety alliance, buttressing Jordan’s place as a companion of the West in one of many world’s most risky areas.