Jordan King meets Netanyahu, Kerry in Amman

Jordan King meets Netanyahu, Kerry in Amman

Jordanian King Abdullah II on Thursday met in Amman with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss means of restoring calm to Jerusalem and also establishing a climate conducive to reviving stalled Palestinian-Israeli peace talks, Anadolu agency reported.

Netanyahu said Israel was committed to preserving the current situation at holy sites in East Jerusalem, the Jordanian royal court said in a statement.

King Abdullah, the royal court said, underlined the importance of Jordanian responsibility for Jerusalem's holy sites.

It added that the King also called for practical Israeli measures to preserve the current situation in Jerusalem, especially in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Earlier this month, Jordan - which is responsible for Jerusalem's holy sites in line with a 1994 peace treaty with Israel - recalled its ambassador in Tel Aviv to protest Israeli "violations" in East Jerusalem.

Tension has run high in East Jerusalem since late last month, when Israel closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for several hours after an extremist rabbi was injured in a West Jerusalem drive-by shooting.

Unrest mounted further when Israeli forces killed a young Palestinian man suspected of shooting the rabbi in a raid on his East Jerusalem home.

Further aggravating the situation, a number of Israeli parliamentarians have forced their way into the mosque complex in recent days and weeks, drawing the ire of Muslim worshippers and official condemnation from Arab and Muslim countries.

For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount," claiming it was the site of two Jewish temples in ancient times.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Middle East War. It later annexed the holy city in 1980, claiming it as the capital of the self-proclaimed Jewish state - a move never recognized by the international community.

In September 2000, a visit to Al-Aqsa by controversial Israeli politician Ariel Sharon triggered what later became known as the "Second Intifada," a popular uprising against Israel's decades-long occupation in which thousands of Palestinians were killed.

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