Jordan’s king working to revive peace bid; ex-envoy says 2-state solution ‘dead’

As Abdullah hosts Abbas, first Jordanian ambassador to Israel Marwan Muasher says Israel doesn’t want two-state deal and US is now ‘totally biased’

Khaled Abu Toameh is the Palestinian Affairs correspondent for The Times of Israel

Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) welcomes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Royal Palace in Amman on January 29, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) welcomes Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the Royal Palace in Amman on January 29, 2018. (AFP Photo/Khalil Mazraawi)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II said Monday that he has been working to revive the peace process and bring Israelis and Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

The Jordanian monarch made the remark during a meeting in Amman with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to Palestinian and Jordanian sources.

Abbas and Abdullah discussed coordinating their positions in the wake of US President Donald Trump’s decisions to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and move the US embassy to the city, the sources said.

The two also discussed the situation in the West Bank “in light of Israeli escalation,” the sources added.

It was Abbas’s first visit abroad since his February 20 address to the United Nations Security Council.

Abbas’s visit to Jordan came amid unconfirmed reports suggesting that his health condition had deteriorated in recent weeks.

The reports, which have been denied by some senior PA officials, were sparked by Abbas’s visit to a US hospital, where he reportedly underwent what his aides called routing medical checkups.

It was unclear whether Abbas was planning to undergo medical tests or treatment during his stay in Jordan. The 82-year-old Abbas has been regularly seeing physicians in the kingdom in the past two decades.

During Monday’s meeting, Abbas praised the Jordanian monarch’s support for the Palestinians and his role in defending Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, according to separate statements published in Amman and Ramallah.

Abdullah, for his part, reaffirmed his country’s support for Palestinian statehood and freedom.

Jordan, he said, will continue to work, in coordination with other relevant parties, toward resuming peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel on the basis of the two-state solution, the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, and United Nations resolutions.

Reaching a just and comprehensive peace is the only way to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and achieve security and stability in the region, Abdullah was quoted as telling the PA president.

Abdullah also told Abbas that Jordan was opposed to Israeli “policies, unilateral measures and recurring assaults on holy sites in Jerusalem,” the statements said. Jordan, he added, will continue to assume its “historic role of defending Islamic and Christian holy sites.”

Marwan Muasher, then Jordan’s deputy premier, delivers a speech on November 13, 2005 (AP Photo/Nader Daoud)

Abdullah’s comments came as Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s first ambassador to Israel and one of the architects of the Arab Peace Initiative, said that the two-state solution was no longer an option.

“Some people will say [the two-state solution] never lived, but it is certainly dead today,” he told Middle East Eye, blaming both Israel and the US for the end of the process.

“No amount of negotiations today are going to reach a two-state solution, because one of the parties does not want it, the Israeli party, and the sponsor of such talks is now totally biased toward the Israelis,” Muasher, a former Jordanian foreign minister and ambassador to the US, said. “Under these conditions, you can no longer cling onto an old model.”

He added that the collapse of the peace process left Jordan in a precarious position.

“We are very vulnerable and worried about it and that explains why Jordan has always been an ardent supporter of the two-state solution because it was in Jordan’s interest, not just the Palestinians’ interest,” he said. “Today that has evaporated.”

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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