Netanyahu Plays Down Diplomatic Spat With Jordan: 'They Need Good Relations With Us'

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with his Hungarian and Czech counterparts in Jerusalem, earlier this week
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a joint press conference with his Hungarian and Czech counterparts in Jerusalem, earlier this weekCredit: Abir Sultan / AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday Israel has "good relations" with Jordan, following a diplomatic spat with Israel's eastern neighbor this week that forced him to cancel a planned visit to the United Arab Emirates.

Netanyahu was set to make his first official visit to the UAE on Thursday since the two countries agreed to normalize ties, but Jordan did not approve the flight path of Netanyahu's plane after Israel canceled a visit by Jordanian crown prince to Al-Aqsa Mosque.

In an interview with Israel's Channel 13 News, Netanyahu said: "Jordan needs good relations with us as much as we need good relations with Jordan, and we have that.” 

When asked why he didn't choose a different flight path that didn't enter Jordanian airspace, Netanyahu was tight lipped. "We had some issues a week ago over Saudi Arabia, missiles that were there. I don’t want to get into that,” he said. 

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman al-Safadi told CNN that Jordan is "angry" with Israel after it canceled a visit by Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah to Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound on Wednesday over a dispute regarding security arrangements at the site.

Prince Hussein was meant to bring 50 security guards, and Netanyahu said that “the Shin Bet was concerned that there would be dozens of armed people on the Temple Mount.”

The visit planned for Thursday was Netanyahu's fourth attempt to visit the UAE since signing a normalization deal in September 2020 in Washington D.C., Netanyahu said that they'll try again soon.

"Mohammed bin Zayed told me we’ll do [the visit] in a short while, not months,” he said. 

Netanyahu also spoke about his ties with U.S. President Joe Biden, and said he told him during their first and only phone call since Biden took office, "I have to worry about the future of the Jewish state. It means I’ll do everything I can so long as I’m prime minister to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons." 

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