Jordan warns it will review ties with Israel over annexation

Amman accuses Jerusalem of taking advantage of attention on coronavirus crisis to implement ‘unilateral moves on the ground’

A Jordanian flag over a locked down Amman, Jordan on March 21, 2020. (AP/Raad Adayleh)
A Jordanian flag over a locked down Amman, Jordan on March 21, 2020. (AP/Raad Adayleh)

AMMAN, Jordan — Jordan threatened Thursday to review its relationship with Israel if the Jewish state goes ahead with controversial plans to annex parts of the West Bank.

“We will not accept unilateral Israeli moves to annex Palestinian lands and we would be forced to review all aspects of our relations with Israel,” Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz told the official Petra news agency.

A coalition deal underlying Israel’s new unity government, sworn in on Sunday, allows it from July 1 to initiate moves to implement US President Donald Trump’s controversial peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The plan, rejected by the Palestinians, gives the green light from Washington for Israel to annex Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley, a swath of land running along the border with Jordan.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu points at a map of the Jordan Valley as he gives a statement, promising to extend Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea area, in Ramat Gan on September 10, 2019. (Menahem Kahana/AFP)

Palestinians say the US plan ends prospects for a two-state solution to their decades-long conflict with Israel.

Razzaz accused Israel of taking advantage of the world being “distracted” by the coronavirus crisis to implement “unilateral moves on the ground.”

His comments came days after Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned that if Israel “really annexes the West Bank in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah II (R) meets with Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas, at the Royal Palace in Amman, on January 29, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Khalil MAZRAAWI)

King Abdullah told German magazine Der Spiegel that “I don’t want to make threats and create a loggerheads atmosphere, but we are considering all options.”

Other nations have also spoken out against annexation plans, including much of the European Union, which has warned it could affect Israel’s ties with the bloc.

On Tuesday, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he was discarding all agreements with Israel and the US in reaction to the annexation plans.

Palestinian security forces wear masks and disinfect their hands next to a hotel that has been sealed off in the town of Beit Jala, south of Jerusalem, following confirmed cases of coronavirus COVID-19, on March 5, 2020. (Musa Al Shaer/AFP)

Israeli sources on Thursday confirmed that the Palestinian leader was making good on the oft-threatened move, freezing a vital security cooperation mechanism seen as key to tamping down violence in the West Bank.

In addition to security and intelligence cooperation between the Israeli military and Palestinian security forces, civil ties between Israel and the PA were also set to cease.

“Israel’s annexation of any parts of the West Bank constitutes an existential threat to the Palestinian national project and an end to the two-state solution,” PA Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh told the heads of Palestinian security forces Thursday, according to the PA’s official Wafa news agency.

US president Bill Clinton, background, applauds as soldiers from the Jordanian army, left, and the Israeli army move together in a show of goodwill at the conclusion of the Israel/Jordan peace treaty signing ceremony at the Wadi Araba border crossing near Eilat in Israel on October 26, 1994. (AP/Marcy Nighswander)

Jordan is the only Arab state apart from Egypt to have a formal peace treaty with Israel. Despite the 1994 agreement, relations have been tense in recent years.

Opinion polls have repeatedly found that the treaty is overwhelmingly opposed by Jordanians, more than half of whom are of Palestinian origin.

Times of Israel Staff contributed to this report.

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