Thursday, 13 November 2014

Jordan, Israel to Meet Over Jerusalem Tensions......

Jordan said that King Abdullah will host a three-way summit Thursday evening with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to try and calm months of turmoil in Jerusalem that has roiled Israeli-Jordanian ties.
The meeting will seek to “restore calm and ease tension in Jerusalem” as well as seek ways to revive moribund Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, according to a statement release by the Jordanian Royal Court.
The announcement marked a surprise addition to Mr. Kerry’s agenda during his meetings in Amman on Thursday with King Abdullah and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
Though Mr. Netanyahu communicates frequently with the king, the summit will mark his first public visit to Jordan in recent memory and underscores the importance of senior-level intervention to stem the turmoil.
Jordan recalled its ambassador from Israel last week in protest over Israeli border police clashes with Palestinian rioters at the entrance to the Al Aqsa Mosque, located on the Old City’s Temple Mount plaza. Unrest in Jerusalem escalated over a campaign by right-wing Israeli politicians to lift a decades-old ban on Jewish prayer on the plaza, holy to both Jews and Muslims, who refer to it as al-Haram al-Sharif, or the Noble Sanctuary.
Under the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, Jordan is recognized as a custodian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. After the clash at Al Aqsa, Jordan accused Israeli police of entering and desecrating the mosque. Israel has denied it was responsible for the incident and blamed Arab protesters.
“There is an attempt by Washington to contain the situation,” said Oraib al-Rantawi, director of al-Quds Center for Political Studies in Amman “After the deterioration of Jordanian-Israeli ties, the U.S. realized that the situation is serious and the anger will not just subside. This explains why Kerry had brought Netanyahu.”
The Israeli prime minister has repeated on many occasions his commitment to keeping the religious status quo on the mount—including in two telephone conversations with the Jordanian King in the past week—but it hasn’t been enough to calm the unrest. Earlier this week, Israel’s ambassador to Jordan said that Israel needs to do more to ease pressure on Jordan that the Temple Mount crisis has created.
Mr. Kerry met with Mr. Abbas earlier on Thursday in Amman but the Palestinian leader wasn’t scheduled to join the summit.
Earlier this week, Mr. Abbas accused Mr. Netanyahu of encouraging a religious war over Jerusalem and Mr. Netanyahu alleged the Palestinian president was responsible for inciting several recent deadly attacks against Israeli civilians by Palestinians.