Jewish leaders meet King Abdullah in Amman


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jordan’s King Abdullah in a meeting in Amman with a delegation of Jewish leaders praised Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for working to bring the Palestinians to the peace negotiating table.

The delegation of nearly 100 Jewish leaders, participants in the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations’  annual meeting in Jerusalem, had a "remarkably candid and open exchange" with the king, Presidents Conference Executive Vice Chairman Malcolm Hoenlein told JTA Tuesday evening by phone on a bus returning to Israel from the Jordanian capital.

Hoenlein said Abdullah expressed "appreciation" to Netanyahu for taking steps to help in "creating a climate in which negotiations [with the Palestinians] can move forward."

The delegation told the king that it appreciated "the role he is playing in trying to bring the Palestinians to direct negotiations" with Israel, Hoenlein said.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators met five times in Jordan in January in an attempt to jump-start direct negotiations. The Palestinians have said they will not return to the negotiating table until Israel halts building in all settlements.

Also in their hourlong meeting, Abdullah and the Jewish leaders discussed issues related to Syria and Iran, as well as reforms in Jordan, Hoenlein said.

The delegation also met with the Jordanian foreign minister and the U.S. and Israeli ambassadors to Jordan.

Hoenlein met with Abdullah a month ago in Washington and proposed the Amman meeting with Jewish leaders. The king was receptive to the idea and instructed his staff to work with the Presidents Conference.

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