Jordan’s King Abdullah II has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request for a meeting, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported, citing an anonymous source. The media outlet noted that the monarch had also turned down a subsequent request for a telephone conversation with Netanyahu. Another source in the prime minister's office denied the report.
According to the newspaper, the reason for turning it down was the poor state of bilateral relations in light of a scandal where Israeli citizens broke the law in Jordan by unlawfully conducting religious rituals at Aaron's Tomb, which has since been closed to visitors.
Another point of discord for Jordan is reportedly the US "deal of the century" peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Following a meeting with its author, the US president's son-in-law Jared Kushner, King Abdullah stated that peace must be achieved by the "creation of an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital".
The US peace plan has mostly been met with criticism in the Arab world, especially by Palestinians, which earlier denounced Washington's role as a credible mediator in the peace process over its recognition of Israeli claims to Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.
At the same time, little is known about the deal itself, apart from its economic aspect, which was recently presented by Kushner. According to the plan, the US suggests that the international community, mostly Arab states, invest some $50 billion in the Palestinian Authority in order to kick-start its economy. Since nothing has been said about the peace plan's political aspect, many Arabs, including Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, slammed the "deal" as an attempt to "bribe" Palestinians without solving their actual problems.