Dr Mike Evans

Netanyahu makes surprise visit with King Abdullah II in Jordan

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Jordan on Tuesday where he met in a surprise visit with Jordanian King Abdullah II.

The two leaders discussed regional issues, especially strategic, security and economic cooperation between Israel and Jordan, which contributes to regional stability.

They also praised the long-standing friendship and partnership between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom, according to a news release from the prime minister’s office.

The meeting follows tense times between the two nations recently. Jordan’s government reacted strongly against National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir visits to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City earlier this month.

Abdullah also said last month that he was ready for a potential conflict with Israel’s new government over changes concerning Jerusalem’s holy sites. Jordan has long served as the custodian of both Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, including the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Tensions were also high when Jordan’s Ambassador to Israel Ghassan Majali was briefly held back from visiting the Temple Mount area. He had reportedly arrived with prior planning and was not initially recognized by authorities.

The two nations have held a peace agreement for decades, but concerns have continued to grow at times. The expansion of the circle of peace through the Abraham Accords in 2020 with additional nations and Israel has broadened hopes for normalization in the Middle East, but has not removed traditional concerns with Jordan.

Netanyahu’s visit offered a clear commitment to maintaining a strong relationship with Jordan and its king. Though some aspects of their visit were not made public, his presence indicating a desire to continue peace and offer mutual understanding in the midst of difficult tensions that have at times heightened between the two governments.