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Israel's Gantz, Jordanian king hold rare meeting in Amman

During the meeting, Jordanian King Abdullah II "reiterated the need to maintain calm in the Palestinian territories," according to the royal court.
JALAA MAREY/AFP via Getty Images

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz held a rare public meeting with Jordanian King Abdullah II in Amman on Wednesday. The pair discussed bilateral ties and regional security.  

Gantz praised the visit in a tweet afterward.

Gantz’ office said the Israeli defense minister “praised the expansion of relations” between the two countries and “expressed [Israel’s] commitment to further develop security, economic and civilian exchanges."

Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, becoming the second Arab country to do so after Egypt. But the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has strained relations. Frequent clashes between Muslim worshippers and Israeli security forces in east Jerusalem, where Jordan has custodianship of over holy sites, is a major source of tension. 

During the meeting, the Jordanian monarch “reiterated the need to maintain calm in the Palestinian territories, and to take the necessary measures to create the horizon needed to achieve just and comprehensive peace, on the basis of the two-state solution,” the royal court said in a statement.

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi was also in attendance. On the Israeli side, defense officials including Gantz' Chief of Staff Maayan Israeli attended the meeting. 

Abdullah and Gantz last met secretly in February, the Israeli press reported. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, who “pledged to fix the relationship” with Jordan, also met secretly with the king in July.  

Gantz’ trip to Amman on Wednesday follows a Dec. 28 meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the defense minister’s home outside Tel Aviv. The surprise visit marked Abbas’s first official meeting inside Israeli territory since 2010.