King Abdullah of Jordan 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The direct Israeli-Palestinian talks that began last month in Jordan are not
dead, Jordan’s King Abdullah II told a delegation of American Jewish
organizational leaders he met in Amman on Tuesday.
Malcolm Hoenlein, the
executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American
Jewish Organizations, which met with the king and Jordanian Foreign Minister
Nasser Judeh in the Royal Palace, cited Abdullah as saying the talks were not
over and that the coming days would give an indication of where they were
Abdullah initiated talks between Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in
Jordan last month. The last meeting, however, was held on January 25, and the
sides did not set a date for another one.
The Palestinians are demanding
that Israel freeze all settlement construction, release some Fatah prisoners and
agree to the pre-1967 lines as the baseline of future talks in order to continue
Israel, for its part, wants to see whether Hamas will join
the Palestinian Authority before carrying on discussions.
position is that if Hamas joins the PA government, the talks are
According to Hoenlein, Abdullah said he was committed to remaining
involved in the process, and that its continuation was important in view of the
dramatic changes taking part in the region.
Among other issues discussed,
Hoenlein said, was the absence of a Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv for nearly
two years. Abdullah replied that the Jordanian Embassy was functioning and that
the envoy would return, though he gave no timeline.
Petra news agency reported that Abdullah said “Israel’s unilateral policies,
including measures to change the identity of Jerusalem and threaten its holy
sites, constitute a major obstacle to resumption of peace efforts.”
reports also said that Abdullah had emphasized that the US should remain
involved in efforts to achieve comprehensive peace, and warned that failure to
make headway in the diplomatic efforts “would exacerbate tension in a region
where some countries have been witnessing unprecedented political
Some 100 participants in the Conference of Presidents’
annual meeting in Jerusalem traveled to Jordan for the meeting there.