A two-state solution to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is vital to the defeat of the Islamic State, King Abdullah of Jordan argued Friday, saying that the decades-long dispute only served to benefit the jihadist group.
“[T]he community of nations cannot talk about universal rights and global justice, but continue to deny statehood to Palestinians,” he told the Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of foreign and defense policy leaders, referring to IS by an Arabic acronym.
“This failure has created a festering injustice, and continues to be exploited by Daesh (Islamic State) and its kind,” he said. “Left unresolved, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will become a religious conflict of a global dimension. And it is only a matter of time before we may be faced by yet another war in Gaza or in South Lebanon.
“This is why reaching a two-state solution should remain a priority for us all,” he said.
Abdullah also met with Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon on the sidelines of the conference, for talks that focused in part on tensions surrounding Jerusalem’s contested Temple Mount.
In his address, Abdullah also called for international unity to combat Islamic State and its ilk, saying that battling Islamist extremists was a “third world war by other means.”
“Let us recognize that, here and now, we are all fighting the next war: a new and complex struggle for the future,” he said. “I’ve called this struggle a ‘third world war by other means’. The point is not simply that the threat is global – although, indeed, it does impact the entire international community. But world wars share something else as well: they are massive change agents. Winning or losing this global war will shape global values and define our security and way of life long into the 21st century.”
The king said that the Muslim world faced the greatest threat from IS and other terrorist organizations that have appeared across the globe, but stressed that it was a danger to the entire world and must be dealt with as such.
“We cannot succeed by focusing on uprooting Daesh from Syria or Iraq while other terrorist groups and affiliates strengthen in Africa and Asia. It is time for a new level of global action focusing our resources, coordinating our responsibilities and synchronizing our military and security efforts. Our countries, our international institutions, must work collectively, as a truly global alliance,” he said.
“We, as Arabs and Muslims, have a responsibility and duty to be in the lead in the fight against the Khawarej, or outlaws of Islam. This is a war to protect our religion, our values and the future of our people,” he said, “but it must be global in partnership, just as it is global in scope.”
Citing the Syrian refugees who have poured into his own country in numbers equal to those who have made their way to Europe, Abdullah added: “Our countries must be equally committed to the ideas that unite us in this war.”
Syria looms large at this year’s event, which also features US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, among others.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir were also expected to address the conference, along with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Ahead of the conference, diplomats agreed early Friday to seek a temporary “cessation of hostilities” in Syria’s civil war within a week, although efforts to secure a lasting cease-fire fell short.
AP contributed to this report