Ron Ben Yishai
Ron Ben Yishai
Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas with King Abdullah II of Jordan meeting in the Royal Palace in Amman

Mansour Abbas' meeting with Jordan's King Abdullah strengthens palace

Analysis: By meeting with the Islamist coalition lawmaker, the monarch seeks to bolster his relations with Israel and the U.S. and hopefully appease some of his critics at home

Ron Ben Yishai |
Published: 11.11.21, 09:02
Jordan's King Abdullah II showed his political proficiency when he met with Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas, a member of Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's ruling coalition.
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  • The meeting last month was revealed by the Royal Palace in Amman earlier in the week.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    פגישתם של מנסור עבאס ומלך ירדן עבדאללה בארמון עמאן
    פגישתם של מנסור עבאס ומלך ירדן עבדאללה בארמון עמאן
    Ra'am leader Mansour Abbas with King Abdullah II of Jordan meeting in the Royal Palace in Amman
    (Photo: AFP)
    The king had more than one good reason to invite Abbas to Jordan for a personal meeting, chief among them is a show of support for Israel's new government after Bennett signed off on it.
    Abdullah backs the Bennett government not only because it does not include Benjamin Netanyahu, but because for the first time in Israel's short history, an Arab Islamist party is a legitimate part of it and is able to impact its policies.
    Abbas's visit to Amman could also work to strengthen U.S. support of Jordan while the kingdom is in desperate need of economic assistance from Washington and from Jerusalem.
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    מסגד אל אקצא
    מסגד אל אקצא
    Palestinians demonstrate support for Hamas leaders in Gaza on Temple Mount last May
    The monarch has also bolstered his position as the custodian of Jerusalem's Muslim holy sites by showing his support for Ra'am — a moderate Islamist force.
    But there may be an internal Jordanian political motivation to the public meeting with Abbas. The palace has been facing mounting pressure over Jordan's economic crisis.
    Last month's report that the king had squirreled away $100 million in tax havens while his subjects are struggling to make ends meet has caused him a great embarrassment.
    3 צפייה בגלריה
    המלכה נור ירדן שנת 2004 עם הנסיך חמזה
    המלכה נור ירדן שנת 2004 עם הנסיך חמזה
    Prince Hamzah of Jordan with his mother Queen Noor
    (Photo: AP)
    Neighboring Saudi Arabia has turned away from the king and was believed to be behind the alleged coup attempt by Abdullah's half-brother Prince Hamzah, last April.
    Abdullah's main opposition comes from Jordan's Muslim Brotherhood and a photo opportunity with Islamist Abbas could help defuse some of that tension.
    Jordan's Bedouin tribes, devout Muslims themselves, are the main supporters of the palace but they too have much criticism of the king. The Ra'am party represents many Bedouin tribes in Israel who have family ties to tribes in Jordan and by honoring Abbas, Abdullah could hope to appease some of his critics.
    This also sends out a message to Jordan's Palestinian majority, indicating that the king has not forsaken the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem or the nationalist aspirations of the Palestinian people.
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