Al Sissi (centre) during his meeting with King Abdullah II (left) and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the Egyptian capital Cairo, on January 17, 2023. Image Credit: AFP

Cairo: Egyptian President Abdul Fattah Al Sissi has hosted Jordanian and Palestinian leaders for talks on the state of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

In a joint statement after the meeting on Tuesday, Al Sissi, King Abdullah II of Jordan and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for Israel to halt “all illegitimate, unilateral measures” that undermine the creation of an independent Palestinian state and to maintain the status quo at the Noble Sanctuary.

The smallest change at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound — one of the region’s most contested sites — could become a major new flashpoint between Israel and the Muslim world. Past Israeli actions there have triggered violent protests and wider conflicts.

Earlier in the day, Jordan summoned the Israeli ambassador to Amman to protest a move by Israeli police to block the Jordanian envoy from entering a holy site in Jerusalem.

Jordan’s Foreign Ministry said its ambassador to Israel, Ghassan Majali, was blocked from entering the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem’s Old City, the third-holiest site in Islam.

The compound is administered by Jordanian religious authorities as part of an unofficial agreement after Israel won control of east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. Israel is in charge of security at the site.

The Israeli police said that Majali arrived at the holy site “without any prior coordination with police officials,” prompting an officer at the compound entrance who didn’t recognize the diplomat to notify his commander about the unexpected visit. While awaiting instructions, officers held up Majali, along with Azzam Al Khatib, the director of the Jerusalem Waqf. The ambassador refused to wait and decided to leave, Israeli police said.