Netanyahu visits Jordan for talks with King Abdullah

Leaders discuss peace talks; Army Radio reports PM told Kerry Israel intends on keeping Beit El settlement bloc in peace deal.

Binyamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah in Jordan Jan 16 2014 (photo credit: Yossi Ben David)
Binyamin Netanyahu and King Abdullah in Jordan Jan 16 2014
(photo credit: Yossi Ben David)

Video: GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held an unannounced meeting in Amman with Jordan's King Abdullah II on Thursday.

The meeting focused on the current Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

In a statement released  upon Netanyahu's return to Israel, he stressed the important role played by Jordan, under King Abdullah's leadership, in the efforts to bring about an agreement. He also emphasized that Israel places a premium on security arrangements, including Jordan's interests, in any future agreement that will take into consideration the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, signed 20 years ago.

Additionally, the two leaders discussed an array of economic cooperation between both countries in a number of fields as well as other regional matters.

Netanyahu has on a number of occasions paid unannounced visits to Jordan to meet with Abdullah since becoming prime minister again in 2009.

The newest diplomatic mission comes amid an Army Radio report Thursday that Netanyahu is insisting on keeping the Beit El settlement bloc as a part of ongoing peace negotiations with the Palestinians.

Army Radio quoted a source familiar with the negotiations as saying Netanyahu, in his talks with Kerry, cited a biblical connection to the Beit El area, noting its depiction in the Book of Genesis as the place where Jacob dreamt about a ladder to heaven.

Netanyahu's spokesman declined to comment on the report .

That would leave 13 percent of the West Bank in Israeli hands, according to Army Radio. There was no immediate comment from  Abbas.

Netanyahu has also offered to buy some of the settlement land from the Palestinians, according to the report, but they rejected such a deal.