Kerry, Netanyahu and King Abdullah meet in Amman .
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Jordan, Israel and the US were holding a trilateral meeting in Amman on Wednesday evening over the growing violence in Jerusalem, particularly with respect to the Temple Mount.
US Secretary of State John Kerry, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were expected to "focus on ways to restore calm and de-escalate tension in Jerusalem,"US State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said in a surprise statement she posted on her twitter feed.
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas met with Kerry in the Jordanian capital earlier on Thursday and with Abdullah on Wednesday.
The visit comes amid a crisis in relations between Israel and Amman over Jerusalem and amid a new wave of violence between Israelis and Palestinians, including in the nation’s capital. Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Amman for consultations. There is no date yet for his return.
Abbas and Abdullah have accused Israel of wanting to change the status quo on the Temple Mount, which is under the control of the Islamic Wakf. Only Muslims are allowed to pray there, but Jews and Christians can visit.
“Since the beginning of the events and even before that until this day, His Majesty [King Abdullah] is busy making official calls with all parties, including the Israeli side, to put an end to these procedures and end these attacks against the Islamic and Christian sanctities,” Abbas told reporters in Amman following his meeting with the king.
Abdullah spoke to Abbas of Jordan’s support for efforts to achieve peace and resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the Jordanian Petra news agency reported.
The monarch also reiterated that Israel’s “repeated aggressions, provocative actions in Jerusalem and targeting of holy sites, especially the Aksa Mosque, were utterly condemnable,” according to the news agency, which said he also warned that the continuation of Israel’s settlement policy will undermine all efforts to revive the peace process.
Abdullah considers himself to be the custodian of Muslim and Christian religious holy places, including the Temple Mount where al-Aksa Mosque is located. Israel, in its 1994 peace treaty with Jordan, recognized that King Abdullah has a special relationship to holy sites in Jerusalem.
Abbas, who holds Israel fully responsible for the current tensions and upsurge in violence because of its ongoing provocations and assaults in the al-Aksa Mosque compound, planned to complain to Kerry about Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and on the Temple Mount, Palestinians sources said.