Jordan's king says no stability in region without Palestinian state
PHOTO CAPTION: Jordan's King Abdullah II speaks during a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at Bayt Al Urdon, in Amman, Jordan May 26, 2021. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi
AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan's King Abdullah said on Wednesday no peace was possible in the Middle East without the emergence of an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
The latest violence - which broke out when Hamas militants assaulted Israel at the weekend - showed the region would not "enjoy stability, security or peace" without a sovereign Palestinian state on land that Israel had captured in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, he said.
A two-state solution was the only option, the monarch told deputies in a speech at the opening of a new parliamentary session.
"Our region will never be secure nor stable without achieving just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the two-state solution," the monarch said.
A two-state solution has long been the bedrock of international peacemaking efforts, but the process has been moribund for years and the possibility of it happening has dimmed even before the renewed bloodshed.
King Abdullah has since the start of the latest conflict been engaged in a flurry of diplomatic efforts with Western and regional leaders urging swift action to de-escalate the situation, officials say.
Officials said the monarch, whom U.S. President Joe Biden called, will voice the kingdom's concerns with U.S Secretary of State Antony Blinken when he arrives in Amman.
Blinken first plans to visit Israel, where he was heading to later on Wednesday. [L1N3BG2OX]
With a large percentage of Jordan’s population made up of Palestinians, and Jordan sharing a border with the West Bank, which the Palestinians hope will be part of their own state together with East Jerusalem and Gaza, its position is sensitive.
"A Palestinian independent and sovereign state should be on June 4th, 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, and so that the cycles of killing, whose ultimate victims are innocent civilians, end," King Abdullah said.
Amman lost the West Bank including East Jerusalem to Israel during the 1967 war. Jordan's peace treaty with Israel is widely unpopular among many citizens who see normalisation as a sellout of the rights of their Palestinian brethren.
The outpouring of anger against Israel also fuelled a large rally on Tuesday in downtown Amman, where several thousand protesters chanted slogans in support of Hamas and demanded the government close the Israeli embassy in Amman and scrap the peace treaty.
The Israeli embassy, where protesters gather daily, has long been a flashpoint of anti-Israel protests at times of turmoil in the Palestinian territories.
(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; Editing by Alison Williams and Angus MacSwan)