King Abdullah of Jordan congratulated Netanyahu on election victory

King Abdullah of Jordan called Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election win on Sunday.

 BENJAMIN NETANYAHU attends a conference in Jerusalem, last week.  (photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
BENJAMIN NETANYAHU attends a conference in Jerusalem, last week.
(photo credit: YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

King Abdullah of Jordan called Prime Minister-elect Benjamin Netanyahu to congratulate him on his election victory on Sunday.

Netanyahu’s office declined to provide further details, and the Royal Hashemite Court did not release a statement about the call.

The two leaders have a history of tense relations, with several high-profile incidents in recent years.

What happened in recent years?

Abdullah is custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem’s Old City, as every king in his dynasty has been since 1924. He uses that role to protest Israel Police attempts to suppress riots and violence by Palestinians on the Temple Mount, regardless of who is prime minister.

The Jordanian monarch protested vigorously in 2017, when Israel installed metal detectors at all entrances to the Temple Mount after terrorists shot two policemen dead at the holy site. Jews ascending the Temple Mount from the one entrance through which they are allowed must go through a metal detector.

King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France January 15, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/VINCENT KESSLER/FILE PHOTO)King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France January 15, 2020. (credit: REUTERS/VINCENT KESSLER/FILE PHOTO)

In 2020, Abdullah did not allow Israel to continue to lease small areas of farmland from Jordan, as detailed in the 1994 peace agreement between the two countries. It was seen as a sign of decline in relations.

In early 2021, Prince Hussein, Abdullah’s son, had to cancel his plans to visit the Temple Mount because Israel would not allow him to bring his entire cohort of armed guards with him. Jerusalem said it had warned Hussein in advance, while Amman disputed that version of events. In response, Jordan blocked Netanyahu, who was prime minister at the time, from entering its airspace for a planned visit to the UAE, effectively stopping the trip.

Amman is still blocking the extradition to the US of Ahlam Tamimi, a Jordanian TV star who gained her fame by being one of the masterminds of the 2001 suicide bombing in the Sbarro pizza parlor in downtown Jerusalem, in which 15 people were killed and 122 were wounded.

At the same time, Washington, as well as much of Israel’s security establishment, has long viewed Jordan’s king as a source of regional stability.

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, his predecessor, Naftali Bennett, and Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Amman earlier this year and tried to work with Abdullah to maintain calm in Jerusalem when Ramadan and Passover overlapped, but to no avail.

When Palestinians began rioting on the Temple Mount and police tried to stop them, Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh said he “praises every Palestinian and Jordanian Islamic Wakf worker… who throw rocks at the pro-Zionists.”

Abdullah lobbied Arab leaders with relations with Israel to lobby Jerusalem and wrote a letter of protest to Washington.

At the UN General Assembly in September, Abdullah falsely claimed that Israel obstructs Christian prayer in Jerusalem.

Sudanese President congratulated Netanyahu in a letter

Sudanese President Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan sent Netanyahu a congratulations letter on Sunday.

“I hope to continue our cooperation to advance relations in every area, for the good of the citizens of our countries,” he wrote, according to Netanyahu’s office.

Sudan agreed to normalize relations with Israel in late 2020, when Netanyahu was prime minister, but the process was disrupted when civil war broke out in the African state.