Israel PM Naftali Bennett and King Abdullah 'held secret meeting in Amman'

Israel PM Naftali Bennett and King Abdullah 'held secret meeting in Amman'
Bennett and Abdullah met to repair broken ties between the two countries and discuss outstanding issues, such a water shortages in Jordan.
2 min read
09 July, 2021
Recent Israeli actions have severely damaged Israeli-Jordanian relations [Getty]

Israeli prime minister Naftali Bennett and King Abdullah of Jordan held a secret meeting last week, hoping to repair the fractures ties between the two countries, according to Israeli media reports. 

The two leaders held a meeting in the Jordanian capital of Amman, where they agreed on a fresh start in Israeli-Jordanian relations, Haaretz reported.

Relations between the two countries became increasingly frayed earlier this year, with Israel’s crackdown on worshippers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, forced expulsions in East Jerusalem and its brutal bombardment of the Gaza Strip. 

The high-level meeting was reportedly designed to accommodate "coordination and updates ahead of important diplomatic meetings," with other Israeli and American officials, according to the Haaretz sources.

Following the Bennett-Abdullah meeting, the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was also called in for a meeting the Jordanian king, but there is no word if Abbas and Bennett will hold their own discussions. 

One of the mains issues discussed at the talks between the two was the issue of severe water shortages in Jordan. 

Previously, Israel had announced that it would be withdrawing from a project to build a canal between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, which would have eased Jordan's water shortage problem. 

"The project is economically unfeasible, but Israel is currently exploring a variety of alternative solutions to ease Jordan’s distress," a diplomatic source told Haaretz

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On Thursday, the Jordanian and Israeli foreign ministers held a meeting where it was agreed that Israel would sell Jordan an additional 50 million cubic metres of water. 

"The Foreign Ministry will continue to hold talks to preserve and strengthen relations. We will expand economic cooperation for the benefit of the two countries," said Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid, following his meeting with his Jordanian counterpart, Ayman Safadi.

Jordan and Israel began diplomatic relations in 1994, but the relationship has frequently come under intense criticism from the Palestinian population in Jordan, who condemn Israeli apartheid practices. 

The last time King Abdullah met with an Israeli prime minister was in 2018 with former leader Benjamin Netanyahu.