Jordan's King Abdullah Meets Abbas in Ramallah After Skirting Israel Summit

Abdullah says 'We and the Palestinians are on the same side' as Israel holds a summit for its Mideast allies

Jack Khoury
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomes King Abdullah II of Jordan ahead of a meeting in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomes King Abdullah II of Jordan ahead of a meeting in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on Monday.Credit: ABBAS MOMANI - AFP
Jack Khoury

Jordan's King Abdullah II met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Monday, after skirting an unofficial invitation to an Israeli summit for its Middle Eastern allies – dubbed "one big illusion" by Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

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.

"We and the Palestinians are on the same side of the barricade," the king said. "We arrived in Ramallah today to hear what the Palestinians are demanding and to reduce the obstacles and challenges they face."

While signatories to the Abraham Accords met in the quiet desert town of Sde Boker across the Green Line, the Jordanian king's first visit to Ramallah since 2017 is part of an effort to relieve friction ahead of Ramadan, particularly the expected visits by Jews to the Temple Mount during Passover, which coincides with Ramadan this year.

Abbas plans to use the visit to convey a message to the United States of the need to advance a diplomatic process with Israel, a senior Palestinian Authority official said last week. The Palestinian Foreign Ministry charged Israel's summit with erasing the Palestinian question from the international agenda, calling on participants to "pay attention to the conduct of Israel and what it is doing in the occupied territories."

During a Sunday meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Abbas asked the Biden administration to press Israel on freezing West Bank settlement expansion and curbing settler violence. Earlier, Blinken called on Israel to de-escalate tensions with the Palestinians, including curbing settlement growth and halting evictions of Palestinians from their homes before Ramadan.

In the run-up to diplomatic visits in the Negev Desert and Ramallah, an attack last week in Be'er Sheva by a Bedouin citizen of Israel left four Israelis dead.

On Sunday, another attack during the summit killed two Israeli police officers in the central coast town of Hadera. Israeli settlers carried out several retaliatory arson sprees in Palestinian villages across the West Bank following both attacks.

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