|Abdullah, Abbas walk in West Bank 370.(Photo by: REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)|
'Fortress mentality will leave Israel isolated'
By JPOST.COM STAFF
Jordan's Abdullah tells AIPAC delegates that stalemate in Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts will "plunge region into unknown."
Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned on Monday that Israel’s “fortress mentality”
would leave it “isolated from the rest of the neighborhood,” the Middle East
Online website reported.
Speaking at a meeting with a delegation from the
American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), he opined that a continued
stalemate in Palestinian- Israeli peace efforts would increase tensions in the
Middle East and “plunge the region into the unknown.”
According to the
report, he purported that the Arab Spring should spur the Israeli government to
“embrace peace” and stop unilateral steps such as settlement activity, which he
said placed obstacles in the path of peace.
He urged both sides to
accelerate efforts to return to the negotiating table on the basis of a
two-state solution according to the pre-1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the
The king stressed that his country was “directly
concerned with a just peace in the region,” and said that Jordan would partake
in joint efforts to reach an agreement that will end the
Abdullah’s comments to the AIPAC delegates echoed the message
conveyed in an interview he gave over the weekend to French publication Le
Nouvel Observateur. In the interview, he said Jordan is in the process of
consolidating an international coalition to kick-start the stalled peace
“We are working closely with several parties in Europe,
including France, to put some effective and workable ideas on the table that
would enable the US to engage and play a leading role in the peace process soon
after the start of the second term of [US] President [Barack] Obama,” Abdullah
said in his interview, translated into English by The Jordan
Abdullah expressed hope that Germany, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
and the United Arab Emirates would participate in the
Negotiations have been virtually nonexistent for most of the
last four years, with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas demanding a
settlement moratorium as a precondition to talks.
Abdullah said that he
was acting in order to take advantage of a “window of opportunity that is
closing down on the two-state solution rather quickly.” The Jordanian leader
cited a confluence of factors which he believes is increasing the likelihood of
a peace deal, including: the inauguration of Obama; an international community
that is increasingly enthusiastic about solving the conflict; the recent
successful Palestinian statehood bid at the UN; and pressures emanating from the
“We do not have four more years to wait for the next US
president to work on Middle East peace, particularly [considering] that Israeli
settlements are eating up all Palestinian lands,” the royal
Commenting on widespread international condemnation of preliminary
plans to build 3,000 new housing units in the E1 corridor connecting Jerusalem
with Ma’aleh Adumim, Abdullah said the world was united against unilateral
Israeli action in the West Bank.
The international community displayed a
“strong stance against settlements, which we agree are one of the main obstacles
to peace, especially in E1 areas,” he said.
Turning to Iran, Abdullah
said at least some Israeli politicians are “very determined” to bomb the
country’s nuclear sites, though he doubted the feasibility of such a
“The region doesn’t need another conflict, and I hope the Israeli
people realize this,” he said.
The Jordanian king added a call for a
“Middle East free of nuclear weapons” – a thinly veiled demand for Israel to
dismantle its own nuclear weapons, which Israel has not admitted to having.