'Netanyahu, Abdullah met in Jordan to talk peace'

AFP reports two leaders met in Jordan to discuss the Middle East peace process last week ahead of Obama's visit.

King Abdullah of Jordan 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
King Abdullah of Jordan 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
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.
The 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 January.
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 Jerusalem.
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 summit.
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 Palestinians.
“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 visit.
“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 continued.
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.