Israeli President Herzog to Meet Jordan's King Abdullah Ahead of Ramadan

Visit to follow that of Defense Minister Gantz, as Jordanian leaders have been meeting with both Palestinian and Israeli officials ahead of Ramadan to discuss the threat of violent confrontations during the holy month

Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov
President Isaac Herzog speaks at a ceremony at the president's residence, earlier this month.
President Isaac Herzog speaks at a ceremony at the president's residence, earlier this month.Credit: Noam Rivkin Fenton
Michael Hauser Tov
Michael Hauser Tov

Israeli President Isaac Herzog will hold talks with King Abdullah II in Jordan on Wednesday, a statement from the president's bureau said Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with Jordan's king at his palace in Amman to discuss "regional security challenges" ahead of Ramadan.

Gantz's visit was planned before the Islamic State-linked attack that killed two Israelis in Hadera Sunday.

King Abdullah speaks with Defense Minister Benny Gantz in Amman, Jordan, on Tuesday.Credit: Royal Hashemite Court

According to the Defense Ministry, Gantz presented the King with Israel's plan to preserve freedom of worship in Jerusalem, and emphasized the "importance of security coordination" in light of recent events. The meeting was attended by Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safdi and intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Ahmad Husni.

A statement from the Jordanian royal palace said that the king emphasized to Gantz "the need to keep the complete calm and respect the rights of Muslims to plat at al-Aqsa Mosque, and to remove every obstacle ahead of them and to avoid any skirmishes that could lead to an escalation."

The statement added that King Abdullah also discussed the need to increase efforts to renew an effective negotiation process between Israelis and Palestinians "that would ensure the establishment of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital."

Israel's Public Security Minister Omer Bar-Lev also met last week with al-Safdi in Amman to discuss the threat of escalation as part of Jordan's efforts to cool tensions leading up to the holy month.

With the holidays coinciding with Passover this year, the Shin Bet and Israeli police are gearing up for violent confrontations, particularly in Jerusalem.

Security forces intend to conduct a large-scale arrest operation against individuals suspected of involvement in terrorism and to detain them without charges. Defense officials have begun drawing up a list of Israeli Arabs to arrest based on purported information about involvement with terrorism, and plan to conduct a thorough investigation of social media networks to identify those calling for violence.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with King Abdullah II also to "quell tensions and promote understanding," ahead of the holidays, a statement from Lapid said.

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