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Report: King Abdullah Held Talks with Gantz but Refused to Meet Netanyahu

Report: King Abdullah Held Talks with Gantz but Refused to Meet Netanyahu

Monday, 1 March, 2021 - 06:45
King Abdullah II on a visit to Al-Ghamr in November 2019, after the agreement to lease the area to Israel was terminated. File photo

Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz met secretly with King Abdullah II in Jordan on Friday, Ynet has learned.

Gantz told Blue & White members in a zoom call that he hoped relations with the neighboring country would improve and that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was an unwelcomed figure in the kingdom.

"The ties with Jordan are a huge asset and could be a thousand times better," Gantz said, claiming that he has an ongoing relationship with the king and senior Jordanian officials.

"Unfortunately, Netanyahu is unwelcome in Jordan," he added.

“I believe that it’s possible to do one or two civilian projects each year with Jordan, and within 10 years up to 20 or 30 projects” to improve relations with the neighboring country, Gantz said.

Jordan is an ally to the US and Israel, and a supporter to the two-state solution and the resumption of peace talks.

King Abdullah reportedly refused to take phone calls from Netanyahu last year as he seethed over the annexation push, according to The Times of Israel.

The King said in 2019 that relations between Israel and Jordan were “at an all-time low,” after a series of incidents that prompted Amman to recall its ambassador to Israel.

That year, Jordan terminated special arrangements that allowed Israeli farmers to easily access plots of land inside Jordan, and the two countries did not hold a joint ceremony marking the quarter-century anniversary of their peace agreement.

Israel’s arrest of two Jordanian citizens for suspected terrorism also caused a minor diplomatic spat.

Jordan and Israel have been at peace since 1994 and have full diplomatic relations.

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