Jordan’s King Abdullah makes rare visit to Ramallah in West Bank


JERUSALEM (JTA) — Jordan’s King Abdullah visited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah for the first time in nearly five years.

The two leaders in their West Bank meeting reportedly discussed President Donald Trump and the peace process, as well as the recent crisis over the Temple Mount.

Abdullah has not visited Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian Authority, since December 2012.

Abdullah reportedly told Abbas that Trump is committed to brokering peace between Israel and the Palestinians, and “stressed the importance of intensifying efforts to create real political prospects for progress toward resolving the conflict,” the Jordanian government’s Petra News Agency reported.

Both the king and Abbas emphasized “the need to preserve the historical and legal status quo” of the Temple Mount, which Petra called the Al-Quds Al-Sharif. Abdullah reiterated that the Hashemite Kingdom would continue to take seriously its guardianship of Muslim holy sites in the city and involve the international community, according to the report.

Abbas reportedly praised Abdullah for his efforts to defuse the recent Temple Mount crisis.

The two sides agreed to form a joint task force that would study the crisis, which was sparked by the murder of two Druze-Israeli police officers by three Arab-Israeli visitors to the site, and to prepare for possible future conflict at the Temple Mount.

Abdullah flew into Ramallah by helicopter, which required coordination with Israeli authorities, but did not meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The failure to meet was meant to show the king’s unhappiness with Netanyahu in the wake of the Temple Mount crisis and the incident late last month in which an Israeli security guard from the Israeli Embassy shot and killed two Jordanian civilians after he was stabbed by one of them — a teen who was installing furniture in an apartment used by the embassy.

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