Gantz, Jordan’s King Abdullah II Meet in Amman to Support ‘Calm’ Ahead of Muslim Month of Ramadan
Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday met with Jordan’s King Abdullah II to discuss security preparations ahead of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks in Israel.
Meeting at the King’s Palace in Amman, the two focused on regional and security challenges, and on steps planned by Israel to maintain calm and maintain freedom of worship in Jerusalem and the West Bank during Ramadan.
The month has in the past been a time of increased tensions in Jerusalem and its worship sites. Israel has been concerned about a potential flare-up of violence as Ramadan and Passover both take place during April.
Gantz said he discussed with Jordan’s King Abdullah II the importance of “security coordination” during this period, updating him on civilian measures meant to improve the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and in Gaza, taken in accordance with Israeli security interests.
Gantz travelled to Jordan, which established relations with Israel in 1994, after Sunday’s deadly terror attack killed two Israeli police officers in the northern city of Hadera. The incident marked the second attack by ISIS supporters in Israel within a week.
During the meeting, Gantz emphasized the “importance of maintaining regional peace and stability and the need to fight terrorism in all its forms, specifically to act forcefully against ISIS, which has coordinated the recent attacks in Israel.”
According to a statement issued by the Jordanian Royal Court, King Abdullah II told Gantz that calm during the month of Ramadan depended on preserving the freedom of worship of Muslims at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and on avoiding “provocative actions” that could lead to an escalation.
Gantz’s visit was coordinated with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and scheduled before the recent terror attack in Israel. The Israeli defense chief wished Abdullah and the people of Jordan a “Ramadan Kareem” ahead of the upcoming month of prayer and fasting.
On Monday, King Abdullah II held talks with President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah, where he reaffirmed Jordan’s support of the Palestinian people and also spoke of the need to “maintain calm and bolster stability,” a statement from the palace said.
At Abdullah II’s invitation, Israeli President Isaac Herzog is set to embark on an official visit to Amman on Wednesday, according to local media reports. The two will hold a one-on-one meeting followed by a bilateral session with their respective advisors.