image Photo: Reuters, Flash90

Jordan calls for Palestinian state

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has reiterated the Hashemite Kingdom’s support for the Palestinian quest of statehood.

His Majesty stressed Jordan stood with all its resources alongside Palestinians in achieving their legitimate rights to set up an independent state,” the monarch was quoted as saying in a palace communique.

The statement was released following talks King Abdullah held with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday at the Red Sea port of Aqaba.

Officials said that both leaders set high hopes that U.S. President-elect Joe Biden will revive peace talks over a Two-State solution to the decades-old Arab-Israeli conflict that envisages a Palestinian state co-existing with Israel, which the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump had refrained from endorsing.

Abdullah, a staunch U.S. ally, was among the first Arab leaders to congratulate Biden. He was also the first Arab leader with whom Biden held a conversation since his election earlier this month, reportedly saying that  that he hopes to cooperate on “supporting a Two-State solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

King Abdullah has steadfastly rejected policies enacted by Israel and the United States in recent months, while underscoring his support of Palestinian statehood. He claimed Trump’s reversal of decades of U.S. policy on the conflict and Mideast peace plan would lead to further conflict. Moreover, the proposal was viewed as presenting an existentialist threat to Jordan as an ‘an alternative state’ for Palestinians, due to U.S. support of Israel’s ambition to annex large parts of the West Bank on land demanded by Palestinians for their own state. At least 7 million of the Hashemite Kingdom’s estimated population of 10,658,123 are of Palestinian origin.

Diplomatic sources say the Jordanian monarch also believes that Trump embraced a right-wing doctrine held by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, that lead to the sidelining of the once pivotal role Amman had played in Arab-Israeli peacemaking.

Jordan seized the West Bank and east Jerusalem – that the United Nations had intended for a Palestinian state – during the 1948 war that broke out when it and six other Arab armies attacked Israel after its declaration of independence. The new Jewish state then captured the territory from Jordan in the 1967 Six Day War.

The Trump administration had particularly enraged Jordan, other Arab states and the Palestinians when it said it no longer viewed Israel’s settlements in the West Bank as “inconsistent with international law.”

Abdullah and Abbas issued a joint statement after the Aqaba meeting accusing Israel of “attempts to impose new realities” by annexing and accelerating settlement building in what they referred to as “occupied Palestinian territory,” which Israel regards as the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria that belong to the Jewish People.

Abbas, who severed ties with Washington three years ago over allegations of a pro-Israel bias, headed to Egypt today in search of further support for the resumption of negotiations preconditions on a Two-State solution.