Arymy Chief Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon: Briefed Jordan on Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's efforts
Photo: Haim Hornstein
Jordan's King Abdullah: Jordan willing to assist with pullout
Photo: Channel 10
Army Chief Moshe Yaalon visited Jordan’s King Abdullah II and updated him about Israel’s plans to release nine Jordanian prisoners and about a planned pullout from the Gaza Strip this summer, a senior security source said on Wednesday.
Jordan has expressed interest in helping Palestinian security forces retain control of the Palestinian territories after Israel’s withdrawal from all 21 settlements in Gaza and four of 120 from the West Bank, although the source refused to comment on whether the two had arranged such coordination.
Egypt also hopes to assist with the pullout and plans to train Palestinian security forces ahead of the withdrawal to help them prevent a hostile takeover of Gaza by terrorist groups such as Hamas, which has gained substantial power in the coastal strip since the start of a four-year-old Palestinian uprising in 2000.
Jordan signed a peace deal with the Jewish state in 1994 and has been instrumental in its participation in Middle East peacemaking, working as a key broker of a U.S.-backed “road map” peace plan between Israel and the Palestinians.
Yaalon briefed Abdullah on Tuesday on Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s efforts to combat growing chaos in the Palestinian Authority and fulfill a long-term Israeli and U.S. demand that he rein in terrorists and dismantle groups like Hamas before Israel would agree to reopen talks on the road map.
The army chief also updated him on Israel’s plan to free nine of 15 Jordanian prisoners in the next few weeks as a goodwill gesture, fulfilling a long-time demand by its Arab ally. None of the inmates had been convicted for harming Israelis and Yaalon said Israel would try to release all Jordanian prisoners in Israel.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Hani Mulki had called the move “a positive step in the right direction”.
The Israeli cabinet also decided this week to appoint a ministerial committee that would look for solutions to a growing number of illegal Jordanian workers inside the Jewish state.