Jordan’s King Abdullah is expected to hold talks with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on Monday to discuss ways to prevent an outbreak of violence in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem next month.
Already existing tensions are expected to increase due to the overlap between the Jewish festival of Passover and the observance of Ramadan next month.
The meeting will take place in the aftermath of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Ramallah on Sunday to speak with Abbas.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has played a back seat to the weightier issues of Blinken’s trip, which includes a summit with Arab foreign ministers in the Negev, the Iranian nuclear threat and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Neither the Palestinians nor the Jordanians were expected to attend the Negev summit.
Still, the Israeli-Palestinian summit was raised at all of Blinken’s meetings with Israelis.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Blinken about steps he could take to ease measures for the Palestinians.
“The holy month of Ramadan will begin, and our government is working very hard to improve the lives of the Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza,” Bennett said during a press meeting with Blinken.
“Just earlier today, my cabinet approved 20,000 workers from Gaza to be able to work in Israel. We’re going to be investing almost NIS 40 million in improving the crossings between Israel and the Gaza Strip to allow smooth and a dignified movement between Gaza and Israel,” he said.
“While we can’t solve everything, we can improve the lives of people on [the] ground, and thanks to your help, this is happening; it’s materializing. So even if you can’t solve everything, it doesn’t mean you don’t do anything,” Bennett said.
Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that there were some gestures Israel could not make.
A US consulate for Palestinians should not be placed in Jerusalem, which is solely the capital of the State of Israel, Lapid said.
“We have no problem, of course,” Lapid told Blinken “if the United States wants to open an office to deal with the day-to-day problems or consular problems of Palestinians.
“We just don’t think Jerusalem is the right place for this, because Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and Israel alone,” he said.
US President Joe Biden had campaigned on the promise that he would reopen the US Consulate General in Jerusalem, after his predecessor Donald Trump had closed the consulate in 2019.
The US, however, needs Israeli approval to reopen the consulate, which served as a de-facto embassy for the Palestinians. The Palestinians believe its presence in Jerusalem makes an important statement about the role of east Jerusalem as its future capital, while Israel has opposed it for precisely that reason.