Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan’s King Abdullah II met in Jordan
last week, Agence France-Presse reported Saturday.
The Prime Minister’s
Office neither confirmed nor denied the report.
According to AFP, the two
leaders met to discuss the frozen Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
meeting comes in advance of a much anticipated visit to Israel and the
Palestinian territories later this month by US President Barack Obama and
Secretary of State John Kerry.
It will be Obama’s first visit to Israel
since taking office in January 2009. It will similarly be Kerry’s first visit to
Israel since he replaced Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in
It is hoped that Obama’s visit will rekindle the peace process
and lead to direct negotiations. Direct talks between the Palestinians and
Israelis broke down in December 2008, and with the exception of a few meetings
in September 2010, they have not been renewed.
The Palestinians have
insisted that they will not talk directly with Israel until it halts
construction in West Bank settlements and Jewish building in east
Israel has rejected that demand and insisted that talks be
held without preconditions.
In Istanbul on Friday, however, PLO
secretary-general Yasser Abed Rabbo met with MK Isaac Herzog (Labor) on the
sidelines of the Young Presidents Organization’s Global Leadership
The two politicians also appeared together on a panel in which
they discussed the absence of a peace process.
Herzog said he had told
Rabbo in their meeting that the Palestinian decision not to meet with Netanyahu
was a strategic mistake, and added that he also believes that Israel should
freeze building in isolated settlements as a gesture to the
“The time is ripe to push both leaders into the negotiating
room,” said Herzog.
During the panel discussion, Herzog said, both he and
Abed Rabbo were asked about their expectations of Obama’s upcoming
“We both expressed our hope that the president’s visit must lead
to renewed negotiations,” he said.
“Now is the time for an American
pro-active effort to find adequate terms of reference” for the talks, Herzog
But he cautioned, “a lot is dependent on the desire of the
[Obama] administration to be heavily involved.”
The Israeli politician
said that he hoped Obama would speak of the need for peace to both the Knesset
and the Palestinian parliament.