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Israel's Bennett held secret meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah in Amman last week, says report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett (L) and Jordan's King Abdullah

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett reportedly took a secret trip to Jordan last week and met with King Abdullah II at his palace in Amman in the first meeting between the two sides after years of strained ties.

According to a report in Israel's Hebrew-language Walla News website, citing a former unnamed senior Israeli official, the meeting was very positive.

At the top of the meeting, Bennett informed King Abdullah that he was prepared to approve a deal for the sale of more water from the Israeli-occupied territories to Jordan, beyond the quota provided by the 1994 so-called bilateral peace agreement.

Both Bennett and the Jordanian king agreed to turn the page and resume normal dialogue, the official said.

The meeting marked the first time Abdullah has met an Israeli prime minister since he hosted Benjamin Netanyahu in 2018. That meeting was also held in secret and only announced after it took place.

Israeli media outlets indicated on Thursday evening that Jordanian officials were unhappy with the fact that the meeting leaked out, since the two sides had agreed it would not be publicized.

A source told Israel’s Channel 12 TV that the news “embarrassed the king and it will definitely affect the ties” between Amman and Tel Aviv.

Bennett’s office contacted the Jordanians after the news of the meeting spread, and told them it was not responsible for the leak, Israel’s Kan News reported.

Leaks of the meeting came hours after Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid met with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi, on the Jordanian side of the King Hussein Bridge, which connects the occupied West Bank with Jordan and is also known as the Allenby Bridge.

At the meeting, the Israeli regime agreed to increase the amount of water it supplies to Jordan by an additional 50 million cubic meters as the latter battles a severe drought and is confronting a devastating water shortage.

These meetings come after years of disconnect between Israel’s prime minister and the Jordanian king.

Tensions in Israeli-Jordanian ties hit its peak after Netanyahu cancelled a visit to the United Arab Emirates on March 11, citing a disagreement with Jordan over crossing its airspace.

A statement from then Israeli premier’s office said at the time that the overflight row “apparently stemmed” from the cancellation by Israel of a planned visit by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein to the al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds the previous day.

The prince’s visit was called off following “a dispute over security and safety arrangements at the site,” the Israeli statement read.


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