"The time to take action in the Middle East is now," was the resounding
message of Jordanian King Abdullah II's speech to the World Economic
Forum in Davos on Friday. "If we're not too late... the two state
solution will only last as long as [US President Barack] Obama's term,"
he warned. "If it doesn't happen by then I don't think it will happen.
Palestinians must be granted their rights to their own future, Abdullah
said, as he called upon the international community to "end this
conflict once and for all."
"For decades, Jordan has taken risks
for peace, because the risk of continued conflict is much worse," he
stressed. Following this week's elections in Israel, he said that peace
and security must be the deepest wish of all Israelis.
posited Obama's position as a second term president as a "tremendous
advantage." He added that in the next couple of months, Jordan would be
marching toward Washington alongside it's international partners in the peace
process, and saying "Mr. President, it's time to engage in the the
Palestinian-Israeli peace process."
"Global leaders have a unique ability to make a difference, to negotiate different paths," he emphasized. Abdullah pointed to the the Arab Peace Initiative as a proposal that could create "an independent Palestine... and a secure Israel with normal relations with the Arab nations."
When questioned on Hamas's
position, the Jordanian king expressed belief that the Islamic movement was now
"being a bit more realistic, because this really is their last chance."
weighed up what he said were the only two possible solutions to the
Palestinian-Israeli conflict: the two state solution or the one state
solution. Abdullah said the latter option "scares Israelis more." In an apparent reference to what Israelis call the "demographic threat" - which sees a Palestinian majority outnumbering the Jewish population - Abdullah
added that one state would present Israel with a dilemma between a democratic state or an
apartheid state. "The two state solution is the only solution," he
Turning to the Syria crisis, Abdullah reiterated his call to the world to "step up." He said Jordan has absorbed almost 300,00 Syrian refugees, and said the weakest were struggling "just to survive the harsh winter."
"I cannot emphasize enough the challenges we are facing in Jordan and Lebanon," he told the audience. He cautioned against the possibility of radicals taking over communities in Syria and said the country needed a "real and inclusive transition plan" that would guarantee the country's unity. "Anything else invited fragmentation and instability."
"Let's not wait and see, the time to act is now," he urged.