Jordan’s King Abdullah II said he would host Israeli and Palestinian peace delegates next month in hopes of getting negotiations back on track, according to Israel Radio, quoting the London-based Al-Hayat.
In an interview with the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur, the Jordanian monarch said that with US President Barack Obama’s inauguration coming up on January 21, and the Israeli elections the following day, he sees a “new opportunity to reach an agreement that we cannot afford to miss.”
He referred to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the “main cause of instability in the Middle East” and emphasized that its solution was a priority for Jordan.
“Sometimes… I feel [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] understands what must be done to achieve the two-state solution,” Abdullah said. “But there is a gap between what he says and the measures taken by the Israeli government. The upcoming elections in Israel, however, represent a new opportunity to resolve the conflict.”
Israel Radio also reported that the king said that Jordan was working together with France and other European powers in order to formulate practical solutions to the problem of continued violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
Regarding Israel’s response to the perceived threat of Iran’s nuclear program, Abdullah said that some of Israel’s leaders seem truly determined to attack Iranian sites, and that he does not believe it is merely pre-election rhetoric. He predicted that after the Israeli elections, there would be renewed calls for an Israeli strike on Tehran, which he believes would not be successful.
“The Middle East does not need another war, and I hope that the Israelis are aware of that,” the king said. “Jordan’s position is clear: we must work tirelessly against the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East, as well as the resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is the only way to eradicate extremism, violence and the arms race in the region.”