Secret Conversations Between Israel’s President and Jordan’s Monarch

The meeting between Isaac Herzog and King Abdullah II in Amman is a symbol of the two countries’ growing ties.

President Isaac Herzog of Israel has revealed that he met Jordan’s King Abdullah II in Amman, in an unannounced meeting that took place amid improved diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“Last week I met and had a very long conversation with the king of Jordan, I was in his palace, an entire evening. It was an excellent meeting,” Herzog said in clips from an interview broadcast on Saturday on Israeli television.

The entire interview will be shown on Sunday, the eve of the Jewish new year which begins on Monday evening.

Image Source: AL JAZEERA

“Jordan is a very important country. I have immense respect for King Abdullah, a great leader and a highly significant regional actor,” Herzog said in a statement issued by his office

The meeting took place at King Abdullah’s palace, with the two leaders discussing a series of political and economic issues including energy and sustainability, according to the statement.

It spoke of a “warm meeting, held at the king’s invitation”, during which the two discussed “deep strategic issues”.

“Among the things we discussed were the core issues in the dialogue between our states, including an agreement to import agricultural produce during the shemitah (agricultural sabbatical) year, energy issues, sustainability, and solutions to the climate crisis that we can advance together,” the statement said.

Mending strained relations

The only two countries on Israel’s border that have signed peace treaties with it are Jordan and Egypt.

Under Netanyahu’s leadership, Israel-Jordan relations deteriorated, with critics accusing him of ignoring the Hashemite monarchy in favor of normalizing relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco last year.

Tensions around the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as Israel’s growth of illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, have strained diplomatic relations.

New Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, on the other hand, travelled to Amman for talks with King Abdullah shortly after taking office in June. Jordan and Israel inked two ground-breaking water and trade agreements the following week.

Image Source: The Times of Israel

The two countries agreed that Israel would sell Jordan 50 million cubic meters of water per year, on top of the 55 million cubic meters it presently gives away for free.

Jordan will be able to raise its exports to Palestinians living in the West Bank, which Israel has occupied since 1967.

In the first high-level meeting between the two parties in years, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas earlier this week.

According to Gantz, the Israeli government is interested in supporting Abbas in his fight against Gaza’s ruling Hamas party, including proposals to lend $150 million to the cash-strapped West Bank autonomy government.

Source: AL JAZEERA

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