Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz met with King Abdullah II at the Royal Palace in Amman, Jordan on Tuesday, just one day after the king met with the Palestinian Authority president in Ramallah.
Israeli President Isaac Herzog is expected to meet with the king on Tuesday, according to his office.
Gantz’s visit to Jordan was announced only after the fact, as is usually the case in the Israeli-Jordanian diplomatic relationship. Herzog’s upcoming trip was published in advance and will be held in public.
The two Israeli leaders are visiting Jordan during the same week that the Hashemite Kingdom chose not to send its representative to the Negev Summit in Israel. The historic regional gathering was attended by the foreign ministers of Israel, Egypt, the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco and the United States.
Gantz’s meeting with the king focused on regional and security challenges ahead of the holy month of Ramadan, traditionally a tense period especially in Jerusalem and around the Temple Mount.
According to the minister’s office, Gantz discussed the measures that Israel is planning to take in order to enable freedom of prayer in Jerusalem and the West Bank. He also highlighted the importance of security coordination during this period and thanked the king for his leadership and positive influence in the region.
Gantz presented Abdullah additional civilian measures that will benefit Palestinians in Gaza, his office said. He emphasized the need to maintain regional peace and stability while also fighting terrorism, specifically to act forcefully against ISIS, which is connected to recent attacks in Israel.
According to the Jordanian Royal Court, Abdullah told Gantz that “provocative actions that lead to escalation” must be prevented. In the meeting, Abdullah reiterated Jordan’s support for a two-state solution and urged Israel to secure Palestinian “freedom of worship” during Ramadan.
“His Majesty stressed that maintaining the comprehensive calm requires respecting the right of Muslims to perform their religious rites in the blessed al-Aqsa Mosque, removing any obstacles that stop them from performing prayers, and preventing provocations that lead to escalation,” the court said in a statement.
It was the third meeting between Abdullah and Gantz, with the first happening secretly in February 2021, and a second taking place publicly in January this year.
Herzog and Abdullah are expected to discuss “deepening Israeli-Jordanian relations, maintaining regional stability with an emphasis on the upcoming holiday period, strengthening peace and normalization, and the many latent opportunities in relations between Israel, Jordan, and the wider region.”
Tal Heinrich is a senior correspondent for both ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS. She is currently based in New York City. Tal also provides reports and analysis for Israeli Hebrew media Channel 14 News.