Ra’am party chief Abbas discusses 2-state solution with Jordan’s king

Rare meeting takes place in Amman, Islamist party officials say; Jordan, Israel have been seeking to improve ties under new Bennett-Lapid government

Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) meets with Israeli lawmaker, Ra'am's Mansour Abbas (C) in Amman, November 9, 2021 (Petra News Agency)
Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) meets with Israeli lawmaker, Ra'am's Mansour Abbas (C) in Amman, November 9, 2021 (Petra News Agency)

Islamist Ra’am party chief Mansour Abbas met with Jordanian monarch King Abdullah II in Amman on Tuesday, Ra’am party officials announced.

Ra’am official Walid al-Hawashleh confirmed the meeting, first reported by Israel’s Channel 12, to The Times of Israel, but declined to comment further.

In a statement, Jordanian state media said Abdullah and Abbas discussed the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. Abdullah reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Additionally, both Abdullah and Abbas stressed the importance of maintaining the status quo at Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

“Abbas expressed appreciation for His Majesty the King’s stances towards the Palestinian cause and Jordan’s tireless efforts to preserve the status quo in Jerusalem,” according to a statement published by the official Jordanian Petra News Agency.

The Jordanian monarch has never met an Arab Israeli party chief who was a sitting member of an Israeli government. Ra’am is the first Arab Israeli party to join an Israeli coalition in decades, while Abdullah has ruled since 1999.

Jordan’s King Abdullah (left); Israeli lawmaker Mansour Abbas (right). (Yousef Allan/The Royal Hashemite Court via AP; Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Jordan’s ruling Hashemite family has also traditionally had an adversarial relationship with local Islamist factions, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. Ra’am shares ideological ties with the Brotherhood, and draws inspiration from some of the same Islamist thinkers.

The new Israeli government has sought a reset of ties with Jordan. Relations between Jerusalem and Amman reached historic lows in the later years of the administration of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett secretly met Abdullah in early July, almost immediately after taking office. Bennett later vowed to “fix the relationship” with the neighboring kingdom during a speech to the Knesset.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II speaks during a media conference prior to a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels, on Wednesday, May 5, 2021. (Johanna Geron, Pool via AP)

In an interview with CNN, Abdullah later pronounced himself “encouraged” by the meeting, although he acknowledged that the pro-settler Bennett was unlikely to establish a Palestinian state, which the monarch supports.

“This government may not be the most ideal government to, in my view, [advance] a two-state solution, which I think is the only solution,” Abdullah said.

Jordanian and Israeli politicians have since held a number of previously rare high-level meetings. Last week, economic ministers from both Jordan and Israel signed a deal to increase Jordanian exports to the Palestinian Authority.

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