US envoy hails Netanyahu meeting with Jordan king on peace talks

Ahead of his Middle East trip, Jason Greenblatt says sit-down in Amman ‘very important to both countries and to the entire region’

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman on July 27, 2010. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (left) meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman on July 27, 2010. (Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

The US envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peace on Tuesday hailed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting the previous day with Jordan’s King Abdullah II, ahead of his visit to the region to promote the American proposal.

“Happy to see King Abdullah and Prime Minister Netanyahu resuming meetings with regard to key issues. Very important to both countries and to the entire region,” Jason Greenblatt tweeted.

Greenblatt and Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, are set to visit Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Israel this week ahead of the expected unveiling of Trump’s plan to broker Mideast peace.

Netanyahu traveled Monday to Amman to meet with Abdullah for their first publicly confirmed meeting in four years.

“The king and the prime minister discussed regional developments and advancing the peace process and bilateral relations. Prime Minister Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s commitment to maintaining the status quo at the holy sites in Jerusalem,” Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

The rare meeting came after months of strained ties between Jerusalem and Amman over the killing of two Jordanians by an Israeli embassy guard.

The two leaders are reported to have last spoken in July 2017 as Netanyahu sought Abdullah’s help in calming protests over metal detectors placed on the Temple Mount.

US Special Envoy Jason Greenblatt attends a press conference regarding the water agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on July 13, 2017. (Yonatan Sindel/ Flash90)

Although Kushner and Greenblatt are set to meet with regional leaders to iron out details of the Trump peace plan, they are not scheduled to hold talks with the Palestinians, who have refused to meet with US officials ever since Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December, and then moved the US Embassy to the city last month.

An aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday condemned the US peace push and a reported plan to raise hundreds of millions of dollars from Gulf donors to rehabilitate the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, Nabil Abu Rudeineh warned Mideast countries “against cooperating with a move whose goal is to perpetuate the separation between Gaza and the West Bank and lead to concessions on Jerusalem and the holy sites.”

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