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

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Amman (Reuters) – Jordan’s King Abdullah said on Sunday that his kingdom was involved in intensive diplomacy to halt what he characterised as 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.

The Israeli military says that Hamas, an Islamist group regarded by much of the international community as a terrorist movement, and other armed factions have fired more than 2,800 rockets from Gaza over the past week.

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 scrap its peace deal with Israel.