Israelis 'sticking their heads in the sand'

Jordan's Abdullah tells 'Wall Street Journal' Israel responsible for failed peace process, failure to renew could destabilize ME.

By OREN KESSLER
September 20, 2011 08:46
2 minute read.
Jordan's King Abdullah in Moscow, April 2011.

King Abdullah_311 reuters. (photo credit: Alexander Natruskin / Reuters)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II blamed Israel for the impasse in peace talks with the Palestinians, charging leaders in Jerusalem with “sticking their heads in the sand” in an interview with The Wall Street Journal published Tuesday.

“If we can’t get the Israelis and Palestinians together in this next couple of days, then what signal is that for the future process?” the monarch said in New York ahead of meetings at the United Nations. “It will have a very negative impact, I think, on all of us.”

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Abdullah said that despite the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan “there is an unhealthy relationship; people- to-people,” due largely to the unresolved Palestinian issue. He said he has been encouraged at times by statements from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the peace process, but that the Israeli leader has failed to follow through on his rhetoric.

“Everything we’ve seen on the ground has been completely the opposite,” he said.

“Israel has got to decide whether it continues to want to be a fortress mentality or whether they want to treat us as equals and be part of the neighborhood,” he added.

“I think my best way to describe my view toward Israel is my increasing frustration because they’re sticking their head in the sand and pretending that there’s not a problem.”

Last week, personnel in the Israeli Embassy in Amman were temporarily ordered back to Israel amid concern over plans on Facebook to stage a demonstration against the mission. The ensuing protest was smaller than expected, with only hundreds in attendance, but those demonstrators who did arrive called on Abdullah to cancel the agreement with the Jewish state.

The king also took issue with what he described as insufficient American involvement in Mideast diplomacy.

“You can never ignore the Israeli-Palestinian problem because if you want to ignore it will later come back and bite you in the backside,” he said. “So you can keep it at arms length but whether you like it or not the bottom fact is that you will have to deal with it.”


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