King Abdullah of Jordan has sent Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas an urgent message to calm tensions in the West Bank, Channel 10 reported Friday evening, citing unnamed Jordanian sources.
According to the report, Abdullah warned Abbas that an intifada, or violent uprising, in the West Bank would spill over to Jordan.
The Jordanian king reportedly told Abbas that he is worried weekly mass protests in the Jordanian capital, Amman, will become hard to contain and may spiral into violence.
Jordanian protesters, prompted by the escalating violence in Israel, as well as perceived attempts by Israel to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, have called on the Jordanian government to cut ties with Israel and expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman.
Earlier on Friday, Palestinian sources said that Jordan and the Palestinian Authority are expected to demand from the US that control over Jewish visits to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem be restored to the Jordanian Muslim authority that administers the site.
Abbas and King Abdullah II were to raise the issue with Secretary of State John Kerry, who is in the region this weekend, the sources said.
Amman and the PA are seeking to return responsibility over visits to the Temple Mount — the holiest site in Judaism and third-holiest in Islam — to the Waqf, as it was before the start of the Second Intifada in September 2000.
Until 2000, the entry of Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount was coordinated with the Waqf. The site was closed to Jews from 2000 until 2003, as the Second Intifada raged. Since then Israel Police have overseen visits by Jewish visitors. Under Israel’s regulations, imposed after the Old City was captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, Jews are allowed to visit, but not pray on, the Temple Mount.
The demand for Muslim oversight on Jewish access to the Temple Mount was first made by the Palestinian Authority on Thursday. “Israel must restore control of the Temple Mount to the Waqf,” said one official close to Abbas. “This is one of the only measures that can help calm the current situation.”
Palestinian sources also told The Times of Israel that Abbas will tell Kerry during their meeting in Amman on Saturday that he is interested in renewing peace talks with Israel and abiding by previous agreements, but that Jerusalem must first freeze all settlement activity and release the final 26 prisoners it had agreed to free last year as part of a US-brokered concession to Abbas.
Avi Issacharoff contributed to this report.