Jordan's King Abdullah II confirmed in an interview with CNN Sunday he had recently met in secret with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
When asked about the new Israeli government and Bennett's past statements in which he ruled out the establishment of a Palestinian state and supported Israel annexing parts of the West Bank, the monarch said that the new government was not ideal for a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, but talks must be kickstarted again nonetheless.
"It was important for me not only to meet with the Palestinian leadership after [the Gaza war in May], which I did with [Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas]," he said. "I met the prime minister, I met General Gantz because we really have to get people back to the table. So, under that umbrella of how do we get Israelis and Palestinians to talk… this government may not be the most ideal government, in my view, for the two-state solution which I think is the only solution."
"I came out of those meetings really encouraged and I think we've seen, in the past couple weeks, not only a better understanding between Israel and Jordan but the voices coming out from both Israel and Palestine that we need to move forward and reset that relationship."
According to Abdullah, the meetings with Bennett and Gantz held day by day late last month have improved Israeli-Jordanian ties between and deepened security and civilian cooperation.
He added that the last Gaza war showed that the U.S.-brokered peace agreements Israel had signed last year with Arab countries, dubbed the Abraham Accords, could not come at the expense of Israeli-Palestinian dialogue.
When asked whether he expected other Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, to normalize relations with Israel, he replied that he did not know, but noted such a move is in line with some countries' national interests.
A senior diplomatic source in Israel said that the makeup of the current government and the Palestinian side's reluctance to go back to the negotiating table made any diplomatic breakthrough highly unlikely.
"The government has said it would avoid dealing with political issues and the Palestinians are making this easy work for Israel because they do not express any will either," the source said. "This is not a lineup that would achieve a diplomatic breakthrough. We are in favor of a two-state solution, but it is difficult to see a political structure that will allow negotiations on it. We're being frank to the world. We must find solutions to build the Palestinian economy and avoid taking steps from which it is impossible to return."