(January 24, 2023 / JNS) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made an unannounced trip to Jordan on Tuesday to meet with King Abdullah II.
The two leaders discussed regional issues, in particular strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan.
Ties between Israel and Jordan have been strained over the years.
Most recently, Amman reacted furiously when earlier this month Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City.
Jordan denounced Ben-Gvir “in the severest of terms [for] the storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque and violation of its sanctity,” despite the Israeli minister not having approached the mosque.
Abdullah said in December that he was ready for a conflict should Israel’s new government violate “red lines” by changing the dynamics governing relations at Jerusalem’s holy sites.
“We have to be concerned about [the] next intifada [Palestinian terror war],” Abdullah said in an interview with CNN, adding, “If that happens, that’s a complete breakdown of law and order and one that neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will benefit from. I think there is a lot of concern from all of us in the region, including those in Israel that are on our side on this issue, to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
Jordan has since long had the status of custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Israeli capital, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Tensions were raised again last week when Jordanian Ambassador to Israel Ghassan Majali was delayed while attempting to ascend the Temple Mount.
According to police, Majali showed up at the site without prior coordination and was not immediately recognized by officers, causing a “very small” delay while authorities looked into the matter.
He subsequently walked off angrily, before returning to visit the holy site later in the day.
Jordan summoned Israeli Ambassador to Amman Eitan Surkis over the incident.