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'It's time to take action on Middle East conflict'
By TAMARA ZIEVE
01/25/2013
Jordanian King Abdullah II says the two-state solution will only be viable while Obama is still in office.
 
"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.

The 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.

Abdullah 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."

He 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 concluded.

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.
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