Israeli PM to meet Jordan's king and Kerry on escalating tensions
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Jordanian King Abdullah II and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman, Xinhua reported.
The meeting takes place amid the heightened tensions in Jerusalem, specifically regarding the holy site of Temple Mount, Israeli media outlets reported.
The meeting will "focus on efforts to defuse tensions over Temple Mount and put an end to the violence that flared up recently in east Jerusalem," said U.S. State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf, according to the Ha'aretz daily.
Recent tensions surrounding Temple Mount prompted Jordan to recall its ambassador to Israel over "the increasing and unprecedented Israeli escalation in the Noble Sanctuary and the repeated Israeli violations in Jerusalem," according to a statement by the Jordanian state news agency.
Temple Mount is home to the holy Muslim Al Aqsa Mosque and Jews believe it to be the location of ancient Jewish temple, and pray at its foothills in what is known as the Western Wall.
A week ago, Netanyahu reportedly called Abdullah to assure him that Israel will continue to sustain the status quo in the site, which it had occupied from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War. The Palestinians and Jordan accused Israel of trying to "Judaize" temple mount as Israeli right wing figures made visits to the site and urged to allow Jews to pray there.
The site is under the custodianship of Jordan according to the peace treaty signed between Israel and Jordan in 1994, with Israelis able to visit but not pray at the site and is guarded by Israeli security forces.
Tensions have also escalated in recent months after Jewish far- right perpetrators kidnapped and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian from east Jerusalem in July, following the kidnap and killing of three Israeli teens by Palestinian militants near Hebron in June.
Moreover, tensions flared due to Israel's ongoing expansion of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem neighborhoods, home to more than 300,000 Palestinians, on territories annexed by the state in 1967.