Israel has never objected to direct negotiations with the Palestinians, even with other regional partners involved, a diplomatic official said Tuesday amid increased talk of a US-backed regional summit in the summer to renew peace talks.
The idea of a summit that would bring together Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Sunni Arab leaders from Egypt, Jordan and the Gulf states – as first reported last week in The Jerusalem Post – is expected to be among the issues discussed when US President Donald Trump meets Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Washington on Tuesday.
The meeting is the second between the two leaders since Trump took office in January.
It comes on the heels of Trump’s meeting on Monday with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and prior to one later this month with PA President Mahmoud Abbas.
During their meeting in February, Abdullah advised Trump against moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a campaign promise that has lost much momentum since the inauguration.
On Monday, Jordan’s Prime Minister Hani Mulki told visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May in Amman that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be “illegal.”
Abdullah and Sisi huddled in Washington on Tuesday between their back-to-back visits to the White House, coordinating their policy on the best way to move forward with diplomatic talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
Sisi sat with Abdullah several hours after meeting with Trump, who described the Arab-Israeli conflict as the “problem of the century.” In a statement to reporters, the Jordanian Embassy in Washington said Sisi and Abdullah “reaffirmed the need to reach a just and lasting olution to the Palestinian issue based on the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative.”
Sisi and Abdullah discussed “regional and international” initiatives, said the Jordanians.
They “also covered the ‘Amman Declaration,’ issued at the conclusion of the Arab Summit, and its affirmation of the Arab Peace Initiative as a strategic Arab option to achieve just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East.”
Earlier this week, Kuwaiti state-run media claimed that Sisi and Abdullah would present Trump with a plan for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The plan would require that Israel freeze settlement activity outside of existing blocs, as well as a prisoner release.
Abdullah and Trump are scheduled to hold a joint press conference on Wednesday after their White House meeting.