Unpublicized meeting was leaked by a Kuwaiti newspaper, and still lacks confirmation by both the Jordanian & Israeli governments.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II reportedly held a secret meeting in Amman on Saturday amid tensions in Jerusalem.
According to a report published Monday in the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Jarida, an urgent meeting was called for the leaders to discuss the escalation in violence in East Jerusalem and tensions surrounding the Temple Mount.
Al-Jarida has been used in recent years as a means for leaking and whitewashing information by sources in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office. More than once, the newspaper has published stories on goings on at Netanyahu’s bureau that later turned out to be true. However, in other instances, its reports about Netanyahu’s office were proved false.
According to this report, the leaders agreed at Saturday’s meeting to increase coordination between the Israeli government and the Jordanian Waqf, which manages the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in an effort to ease tensions there. Furthermore, the report said Netanyahu promised the king to prevent Jews from ascending the Temple Mount in the near future and to define new regulations for tourists’ entry to the site, which is holy to both Jews and Muslims.
According to the report, Netanyahu’s statement urging Israeli parliamentarians to cool their rhetoric on Jerusalem was released Saturday night as a direct result of his meeting with the king. Netanyahu’s statement also followed a request by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to calm the situation in the capital.
In addition, the Kuwaiti newspaper said, the king updated Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on his meeting with Netanyahu, which lead Abbas to publish a statement praising Israeli efforts to calm the situation.
Neither the Israeli or Jordanian side officially confirmed the authenticity of the report.
Tensions have escalated in Jerusalem in recent weeks and rose further this weekend after the shooting of a right-wing Israeli activist and the police’s killing of the suspected Palestinian assailant. After the assassination attempt, Israel closed the Temple Mount to all visitors and worshippers on Thursday.
Earlier this month 2 were killed, including a 3-month-old baby with seven others wounded when a Palestinian rammed his car into a light rail train station in Jerusalem striking passersby disembarking from the train.
Also this month, dozens of Israeli settlers moved into several homes in the predominantly Arab neighborhood of Silwan, doubling the number of Jews in the area, and sparking outrage among the Palestinians.
Jack Khoury contributed to this report.
View original HAARETZ publication at: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.624247