Jordan's Abdullah Urges Israel to Avoid Escalation on Ramadan in Call With Bennett

Jordan's king also requests that Israel will allow the entrance of worshipers to Al-Aqsa Mosque as Jerusalem mulls Ramadan restrictions amid a spate of deadly terror attacks

Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks at a news conference after talks at the Chancellery, in Berlin, Germany, in March.
Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks at a news conference after talks at the Chancellery, in Berlin, Germany, in March.Credit: HANNIBAL HANSCHKE /AP

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked Jordan's King Abdullah II for his clear condemnation of terror attacks that have recently taken place in Israel during a phone call between the two leaders on Sunday.

In the phone call, Jordan's King Abdullah urged Israel to do its utmost to maintain calm during Ramadan, and specifically asked Bennett to "avoid taking steps that could lead to violence," according to a statement from the king's office.

The king also asked Bennett to allow worshipers to arrive freely to Al-Aqsa Mosque, as Israel weighs up capping permits from the West Bank amid three recent terror attacks.

On his part, the prime minister sent his best wishes to the king and his family for the holy month of Ramadan, which began on Saturday, according to a statement by Bennett's office.

A statement given by the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said that any escalation must be avoided during the month of Ramadan and Christian and Jewish holidays, and that the situation must not deteriorate into violence that would block any chance of stability.

Also on Sunday, the Egyptian Foreign Ministry released a statement condemning what it called an Israeli escalation in the Palestinian territories over the past days, the continued infiltration into the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound by settlers assisted by police and the continued harming of Palestinians.

On Thursday, far-right Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir visited the Temple Mount complex.

Furthermore, the ministry's statement also called to enforce international law which protects Palestinians and to prevent any damage from being done to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the holy places and the identity of East Jerusalem

On Saturday, tens of thousands of worshipers arrived at Al-Aqsa Mosque in honor of the first night of Ramadan. Afterwards, thousands came to Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's old city. Unlike last year, the police did not block off the stairs at the gate. Clashes ensued there between Palestinians and the police. Four Palestinian youths were subsequently arrested on suspicion of throwing stones and other objects at police officers.

Following Saturday's events, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid toured the site of the clashes along with police chief Kobi Shabtai and other senior officers and ministers on Sunday. Bennett toured the IDF Central Command and said that "we are entering a tense period." He added that security forces are working to "break the wave" of terrorist attacks.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned Lapid's visit, arguing that calls to beef up security for Jews on Passover represents a complete disregard for Muslims and Christians, whose holy sites face attacks by Jewish extremists.

"Lapid's visit under heavy security only proves that the city is under occupation," and that he is "afraid to walk on occupied land," the ministry said.

Last week, King Abdullah met with Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz and with President Isaac Herzog.

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.

Earlier in the week the king also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. Following his meeting with Abbas, Abdullah called on Israel to "freeze all unilateral measures, especially in Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa mosque, that hinder a regional settlement and the establishment of a Palestinian state."

He emphasized the need to "maintain the status quo" across holy sites in order to prevent violent confrontations, and affirmed support of the Palestinian cause.

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