Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Jordan Tuesday and met with King Abdullah II in his Amman palace.
A statement issued by Netanyahu’s office said the two leaders “discussed regional issues, emphasizing the strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan, which contributes to the stability of the region.” The statement further said that both men underscored the “long-standing friendship and partnership between the State of Israel and the Kingdom of Jordan.”
Shin Ben chief Ronen Bar, national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer accompanied Netanyahu.
According to a statement issued by Amman, the king emphasized the need to respect the historic status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque. He also said that violence and tension must be halted and that calm must be restored in order to open up a diplomatic horizon for a possible peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Any moves that could hinder or sabotage the prospects of peace must be stopped, he said.
Reports in Israel noted that Defense Minister Yoav Gallant met with the king in Amman some two weeks ago in preparation for Netanyahu’s visit.
An unnamed diplomatic source told the Israeli press that the meeting was positive, reflecting the years of acquaintance between the two leaders. Netanyahu reportedly promised to preserve the status quo on what Israel calls the Temple Mount.
Netanyahu’s trip to Amman was his first time meeting with Abdullah since taking office at the end of December. The two had not met since June 2018. Several incidents have clouded the relationship between them, with Abdullah refusing on at least one occasion to speak with Netanyahu on the phone.
Jordanians were furious over a 2017 incident in which an Israeli embassy guard killed two Jordanian nationals he suspected had tried to attack him. The guard was whisked back to Israel in an embassy car, without the consent of the Jordanian authorities, and then received publicly by Netanyahu in his Jerusalem office,.
Another incident took place in 2021, when Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah canceled a visit to Al-Aqsa, blaming Israeli security for sabotaging his arrival. In retaliation, Jordanian authorities delayed authorization for Netanyahu to fly over Amman, forcing Netanyahu to cancel what would have been his visit to the United Arab Emirates.
Former prime ministers Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid as well as former Defense Minister Benny Gantz invested great efforts into mending the rift. All three had separate meetings with Abdullah in Amman and kept in constant contact on the phone with the monarch and Jordanian counterparts.
Shortly after the establishment of the new Netanyahu government, tensions between Jerusalem and Amman flared up again when National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount. Amman strongly condemned the visit by the ultranationalist minister, calling it a provocation against the Muslim world. A few days later, the Jordanian ambassador was briefly stopped by police officers at the entrance to the compound to check his paperwork. The ambassador left without entering the site but returned later to pray.
The meeting today in Jordan comes just days before the planned arrival to Israel of US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.