Jordan’s king, Israeli FM meet to calm tensions in Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s foreign minister and Jordan’s king met in the Jordanian capital of Amman on Thursday in an effort to calm tensions in Jerusalem ahead of holy celebrations for Muslims, Christians and Jews.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II hosted Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in a new sign of warming relations between the neighboring Mideast nations.
“The peace between us isn’t just good neighborliness, but is also our moral responsibility to both our peoples,” Lapid said in remarks released by Israel’s Foreign Ministry.
Abdullah said that maintaining peace means resuming talks toward a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians. There have been no substantive talks on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in more than a decade.
The two spoke ahead of the anniversary of last year’s clashes between Israeli police and Muslim protesters in Jerusalem that helped fuel an 11-day Israel-Gaza war in May. Tensions have been rising again. On Monday, a Palestinian stabbed two police officers in Jerusalem’s Old City before he was shot and killed by police. It was the second such incident in as many days.
This year, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover and the Christian celebration of Easter. Jordan administers the Al-Aqsa Mosque, built on a contested hilltop compound that is a frequent flashpoint in the ancient city holy to the three monotheistic faiths.
“We agreed that we must work together to calm tensions and promote understanding,” Lapid said after the meeting, “particularly in the lead-up to the month of Ramadan and Passover.”