Egypt's El Sisi, King Abdullah of Jordan and Palestinian President Abbas meet

Summit in Egypt's New Al Alamein city takes place amid continuing Israeli pressure against occupied West Bank residents

King Abdullah II, left, is welcomed by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi before a trilateral Jordanian-Egyptian-Palestinian summit in El Alamein on Monday. Jordanian Royal Palace / AFP
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Egypt's President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Monday called on Israel to halt its incursions into West Bank towns and condemned what they called its "escalating illegal practices" against the Palestinians.

The three leaders met in Egypt's coastal city of New Al Alamein in the latest in a series of meetings, amid pressure from Israel's right-wing government on Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Construction of Israeli settlements has reached a record level this year, as has the legitimisation of settler outposts that are illegal under international law, a report by peace advocacy group found.

Israeli forces have also made numerous incursions into areas in the West Bank, saying these are operations against militants. However, children and civilians have also been killed and injured.

According to the UN, at least 196 Palestinians and 24 people in Israel have been killed in conflict this year.

"The three leaders ... emphasised the importance of Israel halting all settlement activity, confiscating Palestinian land and the eviction of Palestinians from their homes and changing the nature and identity of Jerusalem," a joint statement said.

It said the three leaders were determined to co-ordinate with major international powers and relevant parties to revive the long-dormant Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Jordan holds a traditional role as the sole custodian of Islamic sites in Jerusalem.

The leaders again voiced their commitment to a two-state solution to the conflict, with an independent Palestinian state created over lands occupied by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and East Jerusalem as its capital.

Jordan has sought to bolster ties with Mr Abbas to enable him to withstand the growing crisis, with officials in Amman fearing a so-called “alternative homeland” scenario, involving unrest among its large Palestinian population.

The kingdom has also been emphasising its role as custodian of Al Aqsa Mosque, Islam's third holiest site, in the Old City of Jerusalem, to try to curb incursions by Jewish extremists.

This has been a flashpoint in conflict between Arabs and Israelis in recent years.

Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has made several recent visits to the site, including storming the site with Israeli settlers. These incidents have been widely condemned as provocative.

Amman is concerned at the prospect of another Palestinian exodus into Jordan.

This would swell the numbers of the already large numbers of people of Palestinian origin in the kingdom – descendants of refugees who fled their homes in Palestine in the aftermath of the 1948 and 1967 Arab-Israeli wars.

Meanwhile, Cairo has long sought to mediate between Israel and the Palestinians and reconcile rival Palestinian factions.

Egypt, which borders Israel and the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, became the first Arab nation to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979.

Cairo has close ties with Israel. The two nations co-ordinate counterterrorism efforts and seek to combat human and drug trafficking from the Sinai Peninsula into Israel. Their economic ties have significantly grown over the past decade.

Updated: August 14, 2023, 3:58 PM