Israel reportedly shared intelligence with Jordan about a Muslim Brotherhood cell on its soil whose operations included smuggling weapons to Palestinians in the West Bank and raising funds for terror activities.
Jordanian sources told the London-based al-Hayat daily that the information has led to the arrest of 31 people, a majority of them Palestinian students from the West Bank attending university in the Hashemite Kingdom.
Over the weekend, Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned that should peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians not resume, renewed violence would break out, possibly leading to more intifadas.
If the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not solved, “there’ll be a [fourth] fifth, sixth and seventh, and there’ll be another war in Lebanon,” he told PBS’s Charlie Rose on Friday.
“If we don’t solve the problem, it’s only a matter of time until there’s another one,” he asserted.
The Jordanian king charged that a resolution to the conflict was needed to help counter the “much bigger problem” of the international fight against radical extremists, namely the Islamic State and other jihadist groups.
“If we don’t unravel and solve this problem between Israelis and Palestinians, we’re really going to be fighting the problem with one arm tied behind our back,” he said.
“We [in the Muslim world] are moving on to something much bigger, this global fight, this generational fight [against IS] if this thing is still cooking and not resolved, how are we ever going to succeed on this larger problem?”
Abdullah II said the reason European countries are moving to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state or warning that they will do so in the near future, is because of the recruitment of foreign fighters to IS and other jihadist groups.
“All roads do lead to Jerusalem,” he said. “At the end of the day, the core issue is still the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said, adding that he knows it’s an assessment many do not want to hear.
The king expressed some hope that the talks between Israel and the Palestinians would move forward in the near future, adding that the US and Jordan have a big role to play. He said that the meeting last month between himself, US Secretary of State John Kerry, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was “very successful,” and he hoped that the “next phase” would come at the beginning of next year. The trilateral summit in Amman was held in order to head off tensions surrounding the Temple Mount and the sides are said to have discussed how to move forward on the peace talks, a conversation which included Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi who called in.
“When it comes to final status issues, just about any [such] issue has something to do with Jordan whether it’s the border, whether it’s Jerusalem, whether it’s refugees. For the final time in the dialogue of the peace process, for them having to talk to the Jordanians, means how serious a process it was, and how close the sides are to a very strong final package,” he said.
Abdullah II also warned that the fight against IS was a “third world war,” as President Barack Obama pledged a sizable US aid increase to his country.
Obama promised to increase US aid to Jordan from $660 million to more than $1 billion per year. He also vowed the United States would provide the kingdom with an additional loan guarantee.
King Abdullah said Jordan, the United States and other countries “had to combine our strategies” to combat IS, saying he believed it would be a “generational fight.”
“We really have to have a pan-regional approach to this issue. This is a Muslim problem. We need to take ownership of this,” the Jordanian monarch told CBS television.
“It’s clearly a fight between good and evil,” he said, adding: “I think this is a third world war by other means.”
“The medium-term is the security aspect, but the long term is going to be the ideological one. There’s a lot of leaders around the Arab and Muslim world that have had enough, that want to come and say ‘look enough is enough.'”
Obama said the increased US support aims to boost “political and economic reforms that are taking place inside of Jordan.”
This would not only that “the people of Jordan prosper and be self-sufficient, but they can continue to provide an anchor for important efforts that enhance US national security over the long term.”
The US aid is effective from 2015 to 2017.
One of America’s most stalwart allies in the Middle East, Jordan borders Iraq’s Anbar province, which has been largely overrun by Islamic State militants.
It is one of several Arab countries taking part in US-led air strikes against the militant group in Syria.