Jordan warns Washington, London of ‘unprecedented threat’ of annexation

Speaking to Pompeo and Raab, Ayman Safadi urges safeguarding of peace, underlines Amman’s strong opposition to Israeli plans in West Bank

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference in the capital Amman on July 25, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a press conference in the capital Amman on July 25, 2017. (AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

Jordan’s foreign minister on Thursday night warned the top diplomats of the US and UK against the “unprecedented threat” Israel’s planned annexation of parts of the West Bank posed to the region, his office said.

Ayman Safadi spoke with British FM Dominic Raab, urging him to make efforts to “safeguard” peace and prevent Israel from moving forward with the annexation project, the Jordan Times reported.

In a conversation with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he said, he expressed Jordan’s strong opposition to the move, which he warned would endanger prospects of peace.

Last week Amman threatened to review its relationship with Israel if the Jewish state goes ahead with the controversial plans.

“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.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a news conference at the State Department on April 29, 2020, in Washington, DC. (Harnik/POOL/AFP)

A coalition deal underlying Israel’s new unity government, sworn in last 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.

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

Washington on Thursday warned its citizens to take extra caution when traveling to the West Bank or the Gaza Strip, anticipating potential violence.

A security alert by the US Embassy in Jerusalem advised citizens to “maintain a high level of vigilance and to take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the first Cabinet meeting of the new government at the Chagall Hall in the Knesset, Sunday, May 24, 2020. (Abir Sultan/Pool Photo via AP)

It warned that “violence can occur with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, government checkpoints, markets and shopping facilities or government facilities.”

Israel’s military liaison to the Palestinians earlier this week warned the Israel Defense Forces’ chief of staff and the defense minister of a potential wave of violence if the government follows through with its plans to unilaterally annex portions of the West Bank.

Last week, PA President Mahmoud Abbas announced that his security forces were halting coordination with Israel over its plans.

While Israeli security officials have confirmed the PA has ended security cooperation, Channel 13 reported that Ramallah had sent messages to Israel saying it would not allow terror attacks against Israelis or a mass popular uprising.

Though not widely discussed publicly, Israel’s cooperation with Palestinian security forces has been credited with thwarting many major terror attacks and being a significant factor in the relative calm in the West Bank in recent years.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said he has set a July date for when Israel will extend its sovereignty over West Bank settlements and the Jordan Valley, and informed Likud lawmakers he had no intention of changing it.

A Palestinian man rides a donkey on a main road in the Jordan Valley, near Tubus, in the West Bank, September 11, 2019. (Ariel Schalit/AP)

The move would be coordinated with the US, in accordance with the Middle East plan US President Donald Trump unveiled in January, which endorsed extending Israeli sovereignty over roughly 30 percent of the West Bank.

Netanyahu’s vow to go through with annexation has led to condemnations from a growing list on countries, including Arab states such as Jordan and European nations like France and Germany.

In recent days even Trump administration officials have appeared to seek to dampen expectations that Washington will quickly green-light the move without any progress in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

The State Department’s chief spokesperson said earlier this month that any action should be part of discussions between Israel and the Palestinians on the Trump administration’s peace plan.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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