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Jordan’s King in Rare Visit to Palestinian President
Local Editor

Jordan's King Abdullah II began a rare visit to the occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Monday, amid shared tensions with the "Israeli" entity over a flashpoint al-Quds [Jerusalem] holy site.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II

In his first visit to Abbas's headquarters in Ramallah in five years, Abdullah was welcomed on a red carpet near his helicopter by the Palestinian leader before the two national anthems were played.

The two men did not address the media but shook hands with senior Palestinian officials.

The visit came less than two weeks after the end of a standoff at the al-Aqsa mosque compound in al-Quds where the "Israeli" entity had imposed new security measures, including metal detectors, following an attack that killed two policemen.

Jordan, which is the custodian of the site, reacted angrily to the new measures, while Palestinians responded with days of protests.

The tensions were exacerbated on July 23 when an "Israeli" security guard shot dead two Jordanians at the "Israeli" embassy compound in the capital Amman.

The crisis eased on July 27 when "Israeli" Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the removal of the metal detectors, while he has also promised to investigate the embassy incident.

Abdullah's visit was seen by analysts as providing support to Abbas, who has been isolated by the "Israeli" entity over his response to the al-Aqsa row.

About half of Jordan's 9.5 million citizens are of Palestinian origin.

Netanyahu's removal of the metal detectors was seen by Palestinians as a victory.

"It appears that King Abdullah wants to show through his visit that he stands with the Palestinian people in the battle for Jerusalem [al-Quds]," Palestinian political analyst Abdel Majid Sweilem told AFP.

In a statement on the official state news agency Petra, the king was quoted as saying that without Jordanian "custodianship and the steadfastness of the Jerusalemites, the holy sites would have been lost many years ago."

In the middle of the crisis over the metal detectors, Abbas suspended security coordination with the "Israeli" entity, and it has remained suspended despite their removal.

As such 82-year-old Abbas cannot leave the West Bank as the entity controls the border crossings.

"This visit sends a message from his majesty that he is willing to contribute to removing president Abbas's isolation following his decision to stop the security coordination with ‘Israel'," Samir Awad, politics professor at Birzeit University near Ramallah in the West Bank, told AFP.

Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team

07-08-2017 | 14:57


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