Abbas, King Abdullah meet in Ramallah

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas welcomed Jordanian King Abdullah II in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah on Monday.

Abbas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said that Abbas and Abdullah held a closed-door meeting at the presidential headquarters, ahead of a larger discussion with members of Palestinian and Jordanian delegations.

Abu Rudeineh said the king reiterated his full support of the Palestinian people and of the Abbas-led Palestinian Authority (PA), while Abbas expressed his appreciation of Jordan for “defending” the Palestinian cause on the international stage.

Both heads of state agreed to continue coordinating over the fate of the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and occupied East Jerusalem.

Following a deadly shooting attack on July 14, Israeli authorities shut down the Al-Aqsa compound, the third holiest site in Islam which falls under Jordanian custodianship, for almost three days only to reopen it after having installed increased security measures, including metal detectors, turnstiles, and security cameras.

The measures sparked widespread protests for nearly two weeks in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem — as Palestinians said the move was the latest example of Israel using Israeli-Palestinian violence as a means of furthering control over important sites in the occupied Palestinian territory — before Israeli authorities backtracked and removed the new measures.

They also discussed the bitter political conflict between the West Bank-based PA and Hamas, as Abbas reiterated that he would not halt the highly controversial punitive measures levied by the PA in Gaza unless Hamas agreed to all of the PA’s demands.

On Thursday, the Hamas movement announced its readiness to do away with its administrative committee in Gaza, should the PA retract all punitive measures imposed on the besieged coastal enclave in recent months. However, Abbas said in a speech on Saturday that the PA would continue to reduce financial support to the Gaza Strip as long as the Hamas movement did not stick to the PA-mandated terms of reconciliation.

Meanwhile, the PA denied reports earlier on Monday by news outlet Israel Today (Yisrael Hayom) claiming that the PA was pushing Jordan to reopen Israel’s embassy in Amman after an Israeli security guard shot and killed two Jordanians in July.

According to Israel Today, the PA was concerned about the fate of hundreds of Palestinians with Jordanian citizenship who had applied for Israeli visas to visit their relatives in the occupied Palestinian territory, and whose passports have been withheld by Israel since the embassy’s closure.

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki said the report had “no basis in truth,” and that the PA had not been in contact with either Israeli or Jordanian officials over the issue.