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Why Jordan will be key to any Mideast peace deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu must show that he is committed to maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem’s holy sites as he declared after meeting with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.
Jordanian King Abdullah meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Amman, Jordan. January 16, 2014. (Getty Images- Handout/ Jordanian Royal Court)
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Upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returning on June 18 from his first public visit to Jordan in four years, his office issued a truly minimalist statement on his meeting with King Abdullah II at the Royal Palace in Amman. The first sentence said the two had “discussed regional developments, advancing the peace process and bilateral relations,” its banality highlighting the sole and interesting message in the second sentence: “PM Netanyahu reiterated Israel's commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem.”

Of note, Netanyahu only committed to the status quo at the holy sites. He made no mention of a commitment to reining in the wave of construction in Jerusalem’s Holy Basin, where many holy sites of the three major monotheistic religions are located, and the city’s annexed Palestinian neighborhoods. As far as he is concerned, these are inseparable parts of what he calls a “united Jerusalem, Israel’s eternal capital.”

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