Jordan king to meet Abbas in Ramallah in bid to ‘revive’ peace talks
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Jordan king to meet Abbas in Ramallah in bid to ‘revive’ peace talks

Palestinian officials confirm Abdullah II traveling to West Bank Monday for first time in 5 years for talks with PA president

Jordan's King Abdullah (left), pictured with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Ramallah in November, 2011. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)
Jordan's King Abdullah (left), pictured with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on a visit to Ramallah in November, 2011. (Issam Rimawi/Flash90)

King Abdullah II of Jordan will meet Monday with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, on his first visit to the West Bank in five years, officials confirmed Saturday.

Mohammed Shtayyeh, a senior executive of Abbas’s Fatah party, told AFP the Jordanian ruler and the PA president would discuss “efforts to revive the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, stalled since 2014.

The visit will last a few hours, another Palestinian official said.

This would mark the first time in five years that Jordan’s king has visited the PA, coming on the heels of a high-stakes standoff over metal detectors and other security measures at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount and strained diplomatic ties between Israel and Amman.

Abdullah will need to traverse the Israel-controlled West Bank to reach Ramallah, and the visit must be coordinated with Jerusalem.

There was no confirmation of the king’s visit from Israel.

Jordan was a key player in efforts to calm tensions after Israel installed metal detectors and other security measures at the Temple Mount following a July 14 terror attack there in which three Arab Israelis shot dead two police officers using guns they had smuggled into the holy site. The new Israeli measures prompted the Waqf Islamic Trust, which administers the site, to announce a boycott that devolved into nightly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces.

Earlier this week, Abdullah announced that he would donate 1 million Jordanian dinars ($1.4 million) to the Waqf, which is funded by Amman.

Jordanians shout slogans during a demonstration in Amman on July 21, 2017, protesting against new Israeli security measures implemented at the Temple Mount. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanians shout slogans during a demonstration in Amman on July 21, 2017, protesting against new Israeli security measures implemented at the Temple Mount. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

Abdullah also said Wednesday that Jordan was continuing to push for the prosecution of an Israeli embassy guard who killed two Jordanians during the height of tensions last month.

Israel says the guard was assaulted by one of the Jordanians in a suspected nationalistic attack.

After Netanyahu warmly greeted the guard upon his return to Israel, Abdullah said there would be diplomatic consequences.

Jordan, which considers itself a custodian of Jerusalem holy sites, was seen as playing a key role in lowering tensions, releasing the guard to Israel at the same time as Israel removed the metal detectors. Israel later rolled back other security measures as well, after almost two weeks of violent protests in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

Raphael Ahren and Dov Lieber contributed to this report.

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