Jordan’s king and Turkey’s president condemn Israel over Jerusalem action

The two leaders, with opposing views on Middle East issues, discussed the situation in Jerusalem in a rare phone call

A handout picture released by the Jordanian Royal Palace on May 9, 2021 shows Jordanian King Abdullah II during a meeting with private sector representatives over corporate social responsibility initiatives to support local communities, in the capital Amman.  - RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - MANDATORY CREDIT "AFP PHOTO / JORDANIAN ROYAL PALACE / YOUSEF ALLAN" - NO MARKETING NO ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS - DISTRIBUTED AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
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King Abdullah II of Jordan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Israeli “provocations” in Jerusalem in a rare phone call between the two leaders who are at odds over many Middle East issues.

King Abdullah and Mr Erdogan called on “the international community to bear its responsibility in standing against illegitimate Israeli practices and dangerous provocations in Jerusalem”, the official Jordanian news agency said.

“His Majesty affirmed that the two countries will continue to co-ordinate closely to put a limit to the Israeli aggression in East Jerusalem,” the agency said.

Jordan has been wary of increased Turkish intervention in the Middle East.

But Jordanian officials made it clear in the past week that they would work with as many countries as possible to contain any spillover from renewed violence in Israel.

The call shows the importance of the Jerusalem issue for Jordan, which has custodianship of Al Aqsa Mosque and other Muslim and Christian sites in the city.

Its Foreign Minister, Ayman Al Safadi, travelled to Washington to pass on Jordan's concerns about Israel's actions in Jerusalem.

Jordan has been vocal in warning Israel against moves to undermine the Palestinian goal of East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent state.

Jordanian officials fear more pressure on the Palestinians would prompt another mass migration into Jordan.

They say that would allow Israel to escape its responsibility as an occupying power and put pressure on Jordan’s cohesion.

A large number of Palestinians who fled the conflicts with Israel in 1948 and 1967 ended up in Jordan.

Palestinian outrage has been simmering for weeks over Israeli eviction orders against Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

The homes they live in are claimed by Jewish settlers in a legal case before Israeli courts.

Israeli police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets against hundreds of Palestinians who gathered at Al Aqsa Mosque at the weekend.

More unrest occurred at the site on Monday and Israel bombed Gaza in retaliation for a Hamas rocket attack.

Hamas is linked with the Muslim Brotherhood and is supported by Turkey, Iran and Qatar.

Relations between Jordan and Turkey have soured over the past decade over Ankara's increased support for the Brotherhood across the Middle East, and Turkish interventions in Syria, Iraq and Libya.

But Jordan refrained from openly criticising Turkey, which recognises its custodianship in Jerusalem.

Mr Erdogan broke the ice with King Abdullah last month, phoning after a dispute between the king and his half-brother, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, at the start of April.

The dispute was soon resolved but it raised some concern about stability in the kingdom, which has a 320-kilometre border with Israel.

A large part of Jordan’s population of 10 million are descendants of Palestinian refugees and emigrants.

But the kingdom has been officially at peace with Israeli since the Wadi Araba treaty, signed in 1994 under US auspices.

Jordan is a close ally of the US and a major recipient of American aid. The two countries this year signed a defence pact.

It went into effect in March, allowing greater leeway for US troops in Jordan.

King Abdullah on Sunday discussed with Gen Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, “developing the strategic partnership between Jordan and the US, particularly in the defence and security fields”, the news agency said.

The king told Gen Milley that Jordan rejected what he called the Israeli escalation in Jerusalem.

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