Mon 25 Sep 2023 7:46 am - Jerusalem Time
Jordan's King Abdullah: You can’t parachute over Palestine to make peace with Israel
At the inaugural Al-Monitor/Semafor Middle East Global Summit, King Abdullah II emphasizes the centrality of the Palestinian issue;
King Abdullah II of Jordan, speaking at the first Al-Monitor-Semafor Global Summit on Sept. 20, said that the possibility of normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia could offer a “new horizon” for the region, but “part of the challenge is with the Israeli government.”
“This belief, by some in the region, that you can parachute over Palestine, deal with the Arabs, and work your way back; that does not work,” said King Abdullah, who was the keynote speaker at the summit. “And even those countries that have Abraham Accords with Israel have difficulty moving publicly on those issues when Israelis and Palestinians are dying. So unless we solve this problem, there will never be a true peace.” ..and dealing with 'two elephants in the room'
“There are two elephants in the room,” the Jordanian king explained.
“One is the Palestinian transition and the future for the younger generation of leaders. We saw [Palestinian President] Mahmoud Abbas in the past month shaking up his government, new blood coming in. So that's one of the issues that we have to understand; where the Palestinians are going. And part of the challenge is we Jordanians, Arabs, Israelis, Americans do not know who the younger generation of Palestinians are. And this is very, very important for us to be able to reach out to, to these young voices.”
“The other, the second elephant in the room, is where is Israel going? How can we have an understanding of a political horizon? Is it a one state solution that you want? Is it a two-state solution? And I'm sure your state solution is different than mine.”
'Politics doesn’t work'
“My experience over the past 20 years is that politics doesn't work,” said King Abdullah, adding that “regional projects” offer the potential for a new horizon in the region.
“So based on the tactical steps that we're doing with the Israelis and Palestinians, now with the Americans, the Egyptians, it's how do we get calm on the ground, so that the political horizon can be much easier to identify, because of all these regional projects from which we can all benefit. And at the end of the day, those that are against peace in the Middle East, 99% of the people on the ground, just want to put food on their table, and we can provide that new narrative for the region. That's why I'm optimistic.”
Jerusalem as flashpoint, symbol for humanity.
“What binds the three monotheistic religions together is, you know, love thy God and love thy neighbor,” said King Abdullah. “And I think we need to listen to that a bit more. I mean, how could we go to our places of worship, and then come out and hate somebody else? And I think Jerusalem is central to bringing Islam, Christianity and Judaism together. And, again, maybe it's for religious figures to sort of raise the flag as opposed to politicians that look to their own personal issues. I know there's some challenges on the ground at the moment. But, again, Jerusalem is a flashpoint. It could send us into the abyss, or it could be the symbol of not only our region, but to the world of how humanity can come together."