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Jordan: Israel and Palestinians affirm need for ‘de-escalation’

The two sides also agreed to preserve the Temple Mount's status quo.

Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II review an honor guard in Ramallah, Aug. 7, 2017. Photo by Flash90.
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas and Jordanian King Abdullah II review an honor guard in Ramallah, Aug. 7, 2017. Photo by Flash90.

Israel and the Palestinian Authority affirmed the need to “commit to de-escalation on the ground” at a meeting in Aqaba, Jordan on Sunday, according to Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates.

They also agreed to work toward a “just and lasting peace,” the ministry statement said. In addition, the two sides reiterated their commitment to preserving the status quo on the Temple Mount and emphasized the Hashemite Kingdom’s custodianship.

Israel also consented to halt new “settlement” approvals in Judea and Samaria for four to six months, the Jordanian ministry said.

However, the Israeli statement about the meeting didn’t mention the Temple Mount and said that no decisions on new construction in Judea and Samaria “were expected in the coming months,” The Jordan News reported.

Israeli and Palestinian officials met in a bid to reduce tensions in Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip. The meeting was attended by U.S. and Egyptian representatives.

Israel reportedly agreed to curb its counter-terror operations in Judea and Samaria.

“We are giving it a chance. We will only act in the face of ticking bombs or an urgent operational need,” said an unnamed senior security officer, according to Ynet.

The Israeli delegation included National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) head Ronen Bar, with the Palestinian team led by Palestinian Authority intelligence chief Majed Faraj. The United States was represented by White House Middle East coordinator Brett McGurk.

According to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office, Israel accepted the American offer to participate in the meeting in order to “discuss ways to calm tensions in the region ahead of the month of Ramadan [that begins on March 22 or 23].”

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