AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan's king warned Israel in a rare public rebuke that it is "playing with fire" with its settlement policy, and said in comments published Thursday the Jewish state must decide whether it wants peace or war.
"We have warned repeatedly that Israel is playing with fire," King Abdullah II said in an interview published with local newspapers.
The comments from Abdullah, whose country signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, underscore the Jordanian leader's frustration with recent Israeli announcements of new housing for Jews in east Jerusalem.
Israel "must decide if it wants conflict or peace," The Jordanian monarch said, adding that if it is indeed peace, then Israel must take "tangible actions" toward ending settlements and returning to negotiations with Palestinians.
"People are fed up with an open-ended process that does not lead to results," Abdullah said.
A two-state solution was the "only solution" to the crisis, the king said, warning that if no progress is made toward peace soon, then a new cycle violence will erupt for which "the whole world will pay the price."
Abdullah firmly rejected Israeli plans to add 1,600 new housing units to Jerusalem's Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, saying Jordan "condemns all Israeli measures to change the identity of Jerusalem and empty it of its Arab Christian and Muslim residents."
Abdullah spoke ahead of this weekend's Arab summit conference in Libya,
where Arab leaders are expected to decide whether to keep an Arab peace
initiative — giving Israel full Arab recognition in return for occupied
Arab lands — on the table.
He also reiterated his rejection of the so-called 'Jordan option,' an
idea espoused by some Israeli hard-liners to turn Jordan into a
"No one can enforce such a solution and whoever speaks of such
illusions is talking about an impossible scenario," Abdullah said.