Kerry and Netanyahu to Meet in Jordan

Three-way talks with King Abdullah reportedly will focus on Temple Mount tensions, ISIS.

Arutz Sheva Staff , | updated: 18:05

Netanyahu meets Kerry in Jerusalem on March 3
Netanyahu meets Kerry in Jerusalem on March 3
Flash 90

US Secretary of State John Kerry will hold three-way talks with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah II Thursday night to discuss growing unrest in Jerusalem, officials said.

"They will focus on ways to restore calm and de-escalate tensions in Jerusalem," Kerry's deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf said. The talks will follow a meeting earlier Thursday between the top US diplomat and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas.

According to reports in the Lebanese Al Meyadeen, Abbas is to be joining the meeting between Netanyahu, Kerry and Abdullah.

It came hours after fresh clashes broke out in Jerusalem where Israeli police fired tear gas, percussion bombs and rubber bullets to disperse Arab rioters in the Issawiya neighborhood in northeastern Jerusalem.

Jordan recently pulled its ambassador to Israel over ongoing clashes at the Temple Mount, after Israeli police entered the Al Aqsa mosque to combat armed rioters who had barricaded themselves inside.

Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials have repeatedly assured Jordan that there are no plans to change the "status-quo" - a reference to the ban against Jewish worship on the Temple Mount, which is Judaism's holiest site - as Islamist groups continue to react violently to Jewish visits.

Meanwhile, following a spate of deadly attacks by Palestinian terrorists, Israel's Internal Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich warned more attacks could follow. Indeed, on Wednesday night alone security forces foiled two separate stabbing incidents.

But Aharonovich claimed that violence was decreasing.

"I assume there will be more attacks and incidents in the near future," Aharonovich told the crowd at the inauguration ceremony of the new Jerusalem District Commander.  
"I have noticed though a decrease in the number of incidents. The Temple Mount is the key source of the tension and on the Temple Mount there will be no compromises," the minister stressed.

"We will maintain the status quo - everyone will pay, Jews and Muslims. Muslims on the Temple Mount, Jews at the Western Wall," he concluded.

Sources say the meeting with Netanyahu will also focus on efforts to combat the rise of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS. Although Israel is not playing any direct role in the anti-ISIS operation in Iraq and Syria, Israeli intelligence services have been providing support.

Jordan is seen as particularly vulnerable to ISIS, with several Jordanian jihadis threatening to return and overthrow the Hashemite royal family. ISIS enjoys significant support in Jordan as well, with thousands turning out at regular rallies supporting the radical Islamist group.

Israel and the US have both reportedly pledged to aid the Jordanian government if the threat materializes.