Netanyahu makes a surprise visit to Jordan to attend a meeting with the king

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Jordan on Tuesday to meet with King Abdullah II of Jordan. This is Netanyahu’s first visit to Jordan since assuming the leadership of the most right-wing and religiously conservative government in Israel’s history.

Amid long-standing hostile relations between the two countries, the two leaders held a rare meeting, the Jordanian government said in a statement. Initially, there was a disagreement between them over the status of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the most sensitive holy site in Jerusalem’s Old City. Al-Aqsa is the third-holiest site in the world for Muslims. Jews, on the other hand, call this area the Temple Mount.

Jordan’s royal court said the country’s king called on Israel to respect the status quo of the holy site. Jews are only allowed to visit the facility during certain times and cannot publicly pray there. The government also said King Abdullah II had pressed Israel to “cease its violence”. The violence dashed hopes for a final peaceful resolution to the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu’s office said he discussed vaguely defined “regional issues”, security and economic cooperation with Jordan, a key regional ally in the region.

After Israel’s new ultra-nationalist government took office late last year, tensions between the two neighboring states have risen. The Jordanian government has already summoned the Israeli ambassador twice since the new government took office. Both summonses were based on incidents related to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

After Israel took control of East Jerusalem in the 1967 Middle East War, the Aqsa Mosque compound has been managed by Jordanian religious authorities as part of an unofficial agreement. However, Israeli forces are in charge of the security of that place.

Tags: Netanyahu surprise visit Jordan attend meeting king

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