Jordan's king says diplomacy under way to halt Israel's military campaign

Jordan's King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein meets with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Brussels
Jordan's King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein reacts while meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (not pictured) in Brussels, Belgium May 5, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/Pool/File Photo

AMMAN, May 16 (Reuters) - Jordan's King Abdullah said on Sunday that his kingdom was involved in intensive diplomacy to halt what he characterised as an Israeli military escalation in the worst Israeli-Palestinian violence in years.

The monarch, whose ruling family has custodianship of Muslim and Christian sites in Jerusalem, did not elaborate on the diplomacy, which was communicated via a news flash on state media.

Jordanian government officials have told Reuters the pro-Western kingdom is leading a diplomatic campaign with its European and U.S. allies to put pressure on Israel to end its air and artillery barrage on Gaza since fighting erupted last Monday.

"There are intensive contacts with international parties to halt Israel's escalation," the monarch was quoted as saying.

The creation of a Palestinian state on territory Israel captured in a 1967 war from Jordan that covers the West Bank and East Jerusalem was a pre-requisite for lasting peace, he said.

The Israeli military says that Islamist militant group Hamas and other armed factions have fired more than 2,800 rockets from Gaza over the past week. read more

Earlier on Sunday, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said Israel's actions were pushing the region towards a wider conflict.

"Israel carries as the existing occupation force responsibility for the dangerous situation in occupied Palestinian land and what it is causing in violence, killings, destruction and suffering," Safadi said.

Thousands of Jordanians, most of them of Palestinian origin, took to the streets of the capital Amman on Sunday, calling on the kingdom to scrap its peace deal with Israel.

"The government should cut diplomatic ties and expel the Zionist ambassador from Amman," said Murad al Adaylah, head of Islamic Action Front, the country's largest opposition group.

In southern Lebanon, hundreds of demonstrators waving Palestinian flags gathered on the Lebanese side of the border with Israel for a third day.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Editing by William Maclean

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