Palestinians, Jordan Agree to Take Steps if U.S. Moves Embassy to Jerusalem

A source involved in high level talks between Abbas and King Abdullah says Jordan worries how any decision about Jerusalem could impact its own oversight of its holy sites, as well as internal events within kingdom.

Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury
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Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II at their talks on January 22, 2017 in Amman.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan's King Abdullah II at their talks on January 22, 2017 in Amman.Credit: AFP
Jack Khoury
Jack Khoury

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met on Sunday with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman about the possibility the new U.S. administration would move Washington's embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

The White House said on Sunday that the administration was "at the very beginning stages of even discussing" moving the U.S embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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After the meeting with Abdullah, Abbas said that he and the king had agreed to a list of steps they would take if such a decision is implemented. He said the coordination with Jordan was essential ahead of Abdullah's plans to visit Washington and Moscow in the coming weeks.

The Palestinians and the Jordanian king are concerned about the embassy move issue, and therefore they felt an urgent need to coordinate their steps.

>> Read more: Trump White House 'at very beginning stages of even discussing' embassy move to Jerusalem >>

Abbas said "I hope the American administration will act on two levels, one, to not discuss moving the embassy to Jerusalem and second, for the administration to lead negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis with the aim of achieving a political settlement."

Abbas said that "this is the best contribution the United Staes could make."

A senior Palestinian source involved in the meeting told Haaretz that Jordan is very sensitive to any decision being made with regard to moving the embassy because the holy sites in Jerusalem are under its jurisdiction.

"What worries the Jordanians is the repercussions such a decision could have on the Jordanian street and what could develop internally in Jordan, hence the significance of the pressure being applied on the Americans and the Russians."

The source said that the feeling at the Muqata is that U.S. President Donald Trump can be expected to announce plans to move the embassy in the coming days and therefore it is necessary to take action on all fronts at this time.

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