According to Kuwaiti and Jordanian media reports, Netanyahu and King Abdullah met on Saturday in Amman to discuss the escalation in unrest in Jerusalem that has occurred over the past two months. According to sources, Netanyahu agreed to temporarily close the Temple Mount to Jewish visitors for several days while also pledging to increase coordination with the Islamic Waqf who manages the site.
Following his meeting with Netanyahu, King Abdullah briefed PA President Mahmoud Abbas on the meeting, which he felt was successful due to the mounting pressure the Hashemite Kingdom had placed recently on the Israeli government to quell the current tensions surrounding the Temple Mount.
Meanwhile, at the opening of the 17th Parliament’s second ordinary session on Sunday, King Abdullah linked the Hashemite Kingdom’s national security with that of the larger Arab world while vowing to utilise the Jordanian Armed Forces (JAF) to defend all caused related to the region. In regards to the Palestine question, King Abdullah vowed to protect Jerusalem and continue pushing for Palestinian statehood.
“The Palestinian cause remains our principal cause and is a higher national interest. Jerusalem, whose soil is watered by the blood and sacrifices of our martyrs, is a responsibility that lies in the depth of our conscience. Jordan will continue to confront, through all available means, Israel’s unilateral policies and measures in Jerusalem and preserve its Muslim and Christian holy sites, until peace is restored to the land of peace.”
While the Hashemite Kingdom has largely insulated itself from the increasing regional stability in Iraq, Syria, and the Palestinian Territories, it appears as though King Abdullah may consider making a power play for more political involvement in Jerusalem. At this stage, both Arabs and Jews alike are openly discussing the notion of a looming third intifada, particularly in light of the uptick in clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police throughout East Jerusalem, as well as the recent wave of Palestinian militant attacks on Jewish Israelis. While the current unrest more characteristically resembles the first intifada, particularly the decentralized violence in East Jerusalem’s predominantly Arab neighborhoods, the uptick in Palestinian militancy in Jerusalem and the West Bank following this summer’s 50-day military conflict in Gaza bears increasingly similarity to the myriad of issues that sparked the second intifada in 2000.
Ultimately, King Abdullah’s help is needed more than ever, the bigger question is, can he actually do anything to change the status quo? As with most geopolitical happenings in this part of the world, only time will tell….