Israel's defence minister

Israel's defence minister
2 min read
Defence Minister Benny Gantz has travelled to Jordan and held discussions with the King, ahead of the month of Ramadan, and fears of violence.
King Abdullah II called on Palestinians not to be hindered when trying to pray at Al-Aqsa [Getty]

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz on Tuesday met Jordan's King Abdullah II in Amman, as tensions rise in the occupied West Bank.

Last Ramadan, Israeli forces brutally crushed peaceful protests and prayers at Al-Aqsa mosque in occupied East Jerusalem, sparking rocket attacks from Hamas which runs Gaza.

Israeli airstrikes on Gaza led to 250 Palestinian deaths and civilian infrastructure being decimated.

Israeli President Isaac Herzog is also due to visit Amman on Wednesday, two days after Abdullah made a rare trip to the Israeli-occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

The king called on Gantz to "lift all obstacles that could prevent (Muslims) from performing prayers" at Al-Aqsa and "prevent any provocations that could lead to escalation", the palace said in a statement.

"The upholding of calm requires respect for the rights of Muslims to perform their religious rites at Al-Aqsa," the third holiest site in Islam, said the king, whose country serves as custodian of the holy places in east Jerusalem as well as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians.

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Gantz said in the talks the "importance of maintaining regional stability and the necessity to combat terrorism".

On Sunday-Monday, Israel hosted a landmark meeting between Israel's foreign minister and his counterparts from four Arab countries which have ties with the Jewish state, as well as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. The summit was described as "treachery" by Palestinians and other Arabs.

Jordan was the only Arab country with full Israeli ties that did not attend the Negev summit.

Blinken separately met Abbas, who condemned what he described as Western "double standards", saying they penalised Russia over its invasion of Ukraine while ignoring Israel's "crimes" against the Palestinians.