Jordan's King Abdullah meets Palestinian President Abbas in Ramallah

A double win for Palestinians

A double win for Palestinians

Jordan's King Abdullah II began a rare visit to the occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas on Monday, amid shared tensions with Israel over a flashpoint Jerusalem holy site.

The king flew in by helicopter, with the visit coordinated with Israeli authorities which control all entrance and exit points to the West Bank, including its 150 km (93 mile) border with Jordan and the air space above.

Members of Congress rush to greet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as he leaves the House chamber on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, March 3, 2015, after lobbying Congress to kill a peace plan with Iran at all costs.

Abdullah said on Monday that the holy site "would have been lost many years ago" if it was not for Jordan's custodianship and the steadfastness of the people in occupied Jerusalem al-Quds.

After Israeli took over East Jerusalem in 1967, it was obliged to respect the status quo and not make any changes to the historical status, law and institutions in East Jerusalem, including the Jordan administered holy mosque.

Under diplomatic pressure and faced with Palestinian protests, Israel ended a two week standoff by withdrawing the detectors and all other newly installed equipment. According to Petra, he "confirmed the importance of working with the USA administration to move the peace process and relaunch serious and efficient negotiations based on the two state solution".

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Abdullah has not visited Ramallah, the capital of the Palestinian Authority, since December 2012.

The two sides agreed to form a joint task force that would study the crisis, which was sparked by the murder of two Druze-Israeli police officers by three Arab-Israeli visitors to the site, and to prepare for possible future conflict at the Temple Mount.

In a separate incident last month, an Israeli security guard killed a Jordanian teenager who he accused of attacking him.

Abdullah is also playing a role in liaising with Egypt and others to see if long-standing differences between Abbas's Western-backed Fatah party and the rival Hamas movement can be resolved.

Jordan intervened in July to help resolve a crisis over access to the ultra-sensitive Haram al-Sharif mosque compound known to Jews as Temple Mount.

Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Minister of Civil Affairs, Hussein Sheikh, said King Abdullah will arrive in the presidential headquarters in Ramallah to discuss with President Abbas the latest developments in Palestine, including Israel's recent escalation in al-Aqsa Mosque, WAFA reported.