Israeli defense chief meets Jordanian king in reset of ties

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Israel’s defense minister met with the Jordanian king on Wednesday, both sides said, part of a reset of ties between the two countries.

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According to Benny Gantz’ office, the two discussed “security and policy topics.” Gantz “welcomed the expansion of relations between Jordan and the current Israeli government.”

A statement from King Abdullah II said the two spoke about “the need to maintain calm in the Palestinian Territories,” and the measures necessary to lay the foundation for peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The two met in the Jordanian capital, Amman.

The meeting is part of revamped ties between Israel and Jordan, which became strained under the leadership of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It follows a secret meeting last year between Abdullah and current Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, as well as a separate meeting between the countries’ foreign ministers.

Israel and Jordan made peace in 1994 and maintain close security ties, but relations soured in recent years over tensions at a flashpoint Jerusalem mosque, Israel’s expansion of Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank and the lack of any progress in the long-moribund peace process. The countries also fell out over a shooting incident by a guard at Israel’s embassy in Amman.

Both Jordan and the Palestinians were adamantly opposed to the Trump administration’s Mideast plan, which would have allowed Israel to annex up to a third of the West Bank. Israel captured east Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 war, territories the Palestinians want as part of their future state.

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