Abdullah: Israeli-Palestinian talks not over

Jordans king tells delegation of American Jewish leaders in Amman that coming days will indicate direction of negotiations.

King Abdullah of Jordan 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
King Abdullah of Jordan 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The direct Israeli-Palestinian talks that began last month in Jordan are not dead, Jordan’s King Abdullah II told a delegation of American Jewish organizational leaders he met in Amman on Tuesday.
Malcolm Hoenlein, the executive vice president of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, which met with the king and Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh in the Royal Palace, cited Abdullah as saying the talks were not over and that the coming days would give an indication of where they were headed.
Abdullah initiated talks between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s envoy Yitzhak Molcho and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat in Jordan last month. The last meeting, however, was held on January 25, and the sides did not set a date for another one.
The Palestinians are demanding that Israel freeze all settlement construction, release some Fatah prisoners and agree to the pre-1967 lines as the baseline of future talks in order to continue negotiating.
Israel, for its part, wants to see whether Hamas will join the Palestinian Authority before carrying on discussions.
Israel’s position is that if Hamas joins the PA government, the talks are off.
According to Hoenlein, Abdullah said he was committed to remaining involved in the process, and that its continuation was important in view of the dramatic changes taking part in the region.
Among other issues discussed, Hoenlein said, was the absence of a Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv for nearly two years. Abdullah replied that the Jordanian Embassy was functioning and that the envoy would return, though he gave no timeline.
Jordan’s official Petra news agency reported that Abdullah said “Israel’s unilateral policies, including measures to change the identity of Jerusalem and threaten its holy sites, constitute a major obstacle to resumption of peace efforts.”
The reports also said that Abdullah had emphasized that the US should remain involved in efforts to achieve comprehensive peace, and warned that failure to make headway in the diplomatic efforts “would exacerbate tension in a region where some countries have been witnessing unprecedented political transformations.”
Some 100 participants in the Conference of Presidents’ annual meeting in Jerusalem traveled to Jordan for the meeting there.