JERUSALEM (HPD) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a surprise visit to Jordan on Tuesday, where he met King Abdullah II for the first time in more than four years, in an attempt to warm relations that have become strained since he took office. front of the most right-wing government in the history of Israel.
The unusual meeting of the two rulers, who have always had a rocky relationship, came at a time of rising tensions over Israel’s ultra-nationalist government, which took office late last year. The central issue under discussion was the status of a disputed holy site in the Old City of Jerusalem, sacred to Jews and Muslims alike, an issue that goes to the heart of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the official Jordanian statement said.
The Jordanian royal court said the king urged Israel to respect the status of the holy site, which is called the Noble Sanctuary by Muslims and the Temple Mount by Jews. The site, the third holiest in Islam, also includes the Mosque of Omar with its emblematic golden dome.
Under a decades-long agreement with Jordanian custody, non-Muslims can visit the site during certain hours, but not pray there. But Jewish religious nationalists, who make up the new ruling coalition, have increased their views of the site and demanded the right to pray for Jews, much to the fury of Palestinians and Muslims around the world.