Jordan’s king endorses Palestinian reconciliation deal
Jordan’s king endorses Palestinian reconciliation deal
King Abdallah II expressed support for the Egyptian-brokered deal after meeting Sunday with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who heads Fatah.
Hamas seized the Gaza Strip in 2007, leaving Abbas with autonomous enclaves in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The palace said that the king “affirmed Jordan’s full support for this agreement” which it said would strengthen Palestinian unity. Jordan, which considers itself a key Mideast mediator, was not directly involved in reconciliation efforts.
Under an emerging deal, an Abbas-led government would run Gaza, but critical issues remain unresolved.
Following the deal, a top aide to US President Donald Trump said on that an emerging Palestinian unity government must recognize Israel and disarm Hamas, Washington’s first detailed response to a landmark reconciliation deal signed last week.
A Hamas official immediately rejected the comments as “blatant interference” in Palestinian affairs, but did not say directly whether the group planned to comply with any of the demands.
Trump’s special representative for international negotiations Jason Greenblatt, who has repeatedly visited the region to seek ways to restart peace talks, laid out a series of conditions.
“Any Palestinian government must unambiguously and explicitly commit to nonviolence, recognize the state of Israel, accept previous agreements and obligations between the parties — including to disarm terrorists — and commit to peaceful negotiations,” Greenblatt said in a statement.
Senior Hamas official Bassem Naim condemned Greenblatt’s statement and accused the US of adopting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s positions.
“This is blatant interference in Palestinian affairs because it is the right of our people to choose its government according to their supreme strategic interests,” said Naim.
White House Mideast team holds talks with Jordanian king
- The US has been trying to rally support for projects to rescue Gaza’s economy, which has been weakened by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, while continuing to isolate Hamas
- Jared Kushner’s team plans stops in Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. No talks with the Palestinians are scheduled, though the Americans have left the door open to meeting with them
AMMAN: President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, kicked off a swing through the Middle East on Tuesday, meeting with Jordan’s king as part of a broader effort to lay the groundwork for an expected Israeli-Palestinian peace plan.
Kushner and White House envoy Jason Greenblatt held talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah, a key US ally.
A White House statement said the talks focused on US-Jordan cooperation, the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and the US efforts “to “facilitate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
US officials have said their peace plan is near completion and could be released this summer. But it faces resistance from the Palestinians, who have cut off ties since Trump recognized contested Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last December and moved the US Embassy in Israel to the holy city last month. The Palestinians, who seek Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem as their capital, accuse the US of siding with Israel in the most sensitive issue of their decades-long conflict.
Kushner’s team also plans stops in Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. No talks with the Palestinians are scheduled, though the Americans have left the door open to meeting with them.
The Palestinians seek all of the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza Strip for an independent state. Israel captured the territories in the 1967 Mideast war. It withdrew from Gaza in 2005, and Hamas militants seized control of the territory two years later.
The US has been trying to rally support for projects to rescue Gaza’s economy, which has been weakened by an Israeli-Egyptian blockade, while continuing to isolate Hamas. The US, Israel and Western allies shun Hamas as a terrorist group. Details of the plan have not been released, but Palestinians fear they will get little more than a symbolic foothold in Jerusalem. They also fear that aid to Gaza will help strengthen Hamas’ control over the territory.
Jordan also has a stake in east Jerusalem, serving as the custodian of major Muslim and Christian shrines there. Jerusalem’s walled Old City, captured and annexed by Israel in 1967, is home to Muslim, Christian and Jewish holy sites.
Abdullah has also rejected Trump’s moves in Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to relinquish any part of the city.
Netanyahu traveled to Amman on Monday for a surprise meeting with Abdullah, telling the king that Israel remains committed to the status quo of the holy sites in Jerusalem.
Abdullah told Netanyahu that the fate of Jerusalem must be determined in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, and that a solution should be based on establishing a Palestinian state, with east Jerusalem as its capital, on lands Israel captured in 1967.
Palestinian officials fear the Trump administration plan will leave them with a mini-state in the Gaza Strip, parts of the West Bank and a foothold in Jerusalem. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said he will reject any plan being floated by the Trump team, arguing that the US has forfeited its role as mediator because of decisions seen as pro-Israel.