Netanyahu, Abdullah Meet in Amman After Year-long Rift

Prime Minister makes unnanounced visit to Amman, seeks Jordanian pressure on PA to enter direct talks with Israel.

Prime Minister Netanyahu arrived in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Tuesday in an unannounced visit to meet with King Abdullah II, following a year-long hiatus during which the two leaders did not meet or even speak over the telephone.

Tuesday's visit was Netanyahu's second trip to Jordan during his present term as Prime Minister, which began in February 2009. The meeting was initiated by the chief of Israel's Mossad spy agency, Meir Dagan, with backing from the United States, in an effort to reduce tensions between the neighbors.

Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with Jordanian King Abdullah II
Avi Ohayon

It would appear that Netanyahu's aim was to try to shore up Abdullah's trust. Also on Netanyahu's agenda was convincing the Jordanian king to pressure Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to enter direct negotiations with Israel, ahead of the Arab League meeting on the issue scheduled to take place in Cairo on Thursday.

A press release by the Jordanian Monarchy stated that Netanyahu and Abdullah focused on ways to create the necessary atmosphere for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The press release noted that these negotiations will deal with all of the core issues of a permanent agreement that would see the establishment of an independent and sustainable Palestinian state on Palestinian lands, to exist in peace and security alongside of Israel.

King Abdullah told Netanyahu that comprehensive peace, which will bequeath rights to all parties in the conflict, is the only way to achieve security and stability in the region. The king called upon Netanyahu to refrain from taking unilateral steps that would make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve. The king was likely making a reference to recent Israeli approval of new construction in Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.

King Abdullah added that the current opportunity to achieve peace, in the strategic interests of all parties to the conflict, must not be missed. The king stated that it is also the desire of the international community, which sees peace in the Middle East as a prerequisite for world peace.

Netanyahu spokesperson Nir Hefetz stated that "the meeting, which lasted over two hours, was comprehensive and concentrated on the need to advance peace, security and prosperity in the region. The two leaders dealt with the need to conduct serious effective direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on all topics, in order to reach a sustainable, secure, and stable two-state peace agreement."

After the meeting, Netanyahu said that Abdullah's leadership is important to the advancement of peace and the stability of the region, and that he plans to act to strengthen the ties between the two countries.