Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and King Abdullah II of Jordan condemned Israeli “provocations” in Jerusalem in a rare phone call between the two leaders, who are at odds over many Middle East issues.
Erdoğan and King Abdullah called on “the international community to bear its responsibility in standing against illegitimate Israeli practices and dangerous provocations in Jerusalem”, an official Jordanian news agency said. “His Majesty affirmed that the two countries will continue to coordinate closely to put a limit to the Israeli aggression in East Jerusalem,” the agency said.
Jordanian officials made it clear in the past week that they would work with as many countries as possible to contain any spillover from renewed violence in Israel.
The call shows the importance of the Jerusalem issue for Jordan, which has custodianship of Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Muslim and Christian sites in the city. Jordan has been vocal in warning Israel against moves to undermine the Palestinian goal of East Jerusalem as the capital of an independent state.
A large number of Palestinians who fled the conflicts with Israel in 1948 and 1967 ended up in Jordan. Palestinian outrage has been simmering for weeks over Israeli eviction orders against Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
The homes they live in are claimed by Jewish settlers in a legal case before Israeli courts.
Israeli police fired stun grenades and rubber bullets against hundreds of Palestinians who gathered at Al-Aqsa Mosque at the weekend.
More unrest occurred at the site on Monday while Israel bombed Gaza in retaliation for a Hamas rocket attack.
Relations between Jordan and Turkey have soured over the past decade. However, Jordan refrained from openly criticizing Turkey, which recognizes its custodianship in Jerusalem.
Both leaders ‘broke the ice’ between each other in a phone call last month, after a dispute between the King and his half-brother, Prince Hamzah bin Hussein, at the start of April.
The dispute was soon resolved but it raised some concern about stability in the Kingdom, which has a 320-kilometer border with Israel. A large part of Jordan’s population of 10 million are descendants of Palestinian refugees and emigrants.