Report: Ben-Eliezer Told Jordan That Israel Not Planning to Destroy PA
Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer assured Jordan's King Abdullah during a secret meeting last Wednesday that Israel did not plan to carry out a large-scale military operation against the Palestinian Authority, according to Haaretz newspaper.
The minister reportedly added that Israel did not intend to destroy the PA or to replace its leadership.
The subject of international ceasefire observers also came up during the meeting, details of which were leaked Saturday by Israeli sources, said the paper.
The meetings, said the paper, revolved around the continuing confrontation between Israel and the Palestinians, and ways of restoring stability and calm in the region.
The Jordanians told the visiting defense minister that Israel must provide the Palestinians with some form of diplomatic gain and accompany efforts toward a ceasefire with a diplomatic dialogue.
King Abdullah was quoted as stressing his support for the idea of deploying international monitors in the Occupied Territories.
Israeli reports said that Ben-Eliezer also used the meeting to relay a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad, urging him to discontinue Syrian support for the Lebanese Hizbollah movement and its activities against Israel in the occupied Shabaa Farms.
Israeli diplomatic sources said the visit took place in order to reassure the Jordanians about Israel's intentions regarding the situation with the Palestinians.
The sources added that "Ben-Eliezer gave the Jordanians what they wanted and reassured them."
However, sources in the Israeli Foreign Ministry criticized the fact that Ben-Eliezer's "secret" visit had been leaked to the press, saying that the leaks were intended to further Ben-Eliezer's political agenda in the upcoming Labor Party primaries, in which he is a contender, according to Haaretz.
The sources added that revelations of the meeting could embarrass the Jordanians after a similar meeting between Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and Egyptian officials drew criticism of Egypt from the Arab world, including opposition elements in Jordan.
Israeli radio said Saturday that Jordanian security forces recently foiled a Katyusha rocket attack on Israel from Jordanian territory, but gave no further details.
The radio station said Israeli authorities had thanked Jordan for helping keep the peace in the region, adding that Ben Eliezer made the secret visit after the incident to discuss security issues.
In Amman, a high-ranking Jordanian official told AFP he was "not at all aware" of this operation.
Jordanian authorities announced last week that three armed Palestinians had been arrested while trying to get into Israel – Albawaba.com
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