March 21, 2023

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Jordan king condemns 'violence in all forms', in Israel talks

Jordan king condemns ‘violence in all forms’, in Israel talks

Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Wednesday condemned “violence in all its forms” in a meeting with visiting Israeli President Isaac Herzog, following a spate of deadly attacks in the Jewish state.

A total of 11 people have been killed in three attacks in the space of a week in Israel, the latest of them on Tuesday.

Abdullah expressed “Jordan’s condemnation of violence in all its forms, and the resulting loss of more innocent” lives, a palace statement said.

He pointed to “the regretable attacks that have targeted civilians from both sides, including yesterday’s attack”, warning it was “the Israelis and Palestinians who pay the price”.

“This conflict has lasted a long time, and the resulting violence continues to cause much pain and offers a fertile ground for extremism,” he said.

Four civilians and a policeman were killed on Tuesday when a Palestinian assailant opened fire at passers-by in the town of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv.

Ahead of Ramadan, the Israeli president said that “we have to move towards allowing the performance of religious rites peacefully”, adding that “this is what we are discussing with Jordan”, according to the palace.

“Having Muslim leaders meet Jewish and Israeli leaders is an alternative to the abyss of hatred and bloodshed,” Herzog said, quoted by his office.

Herzog’s visit comes one day after Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz was in Amman, where he also met the king, in a bid to seek calm ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, starting in April.

Tensions flared last year during Ramadan between Israeli forces and Palestinians visiting Al-Aqsa mosque in annexed east Jerusalem, leading to 11 days of conflict between Israel and the Islamist movement Hamas which rules Gaza.

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Jordan, which established ties with Israel in 1994, has traditionally played the role of mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

The kingdom also serves as custodian of the holy places in east Jerusalem, which Israel seized in 1967 and later annexed in a move not recognised by most of the international community.

In his meeting with Gantz, Abdullah called on Israel to “lift all obstacles that could prevent (Muslims) from performing prayers” at Al-Aqsa and “prevent any provocations that could lead to escalation”.