LONDON: King Abdullah of Jordan told the World Economic Forum in Davos that Jerusalem “could be a city that brings us together or it could create aggression and violence that we haven’t seen before.”
He was speaking in response to a question linked to President Donald Trump’s decision that the US will formally recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, with Vice President Mike Pence saying recently that the US Embassy would be ready to move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem by the end of 2019.
Trump’s controversial decision has sparked protests by Palestinians and Muslims throughout the world.
King Abdullah said Jerusalem had to be part of a comprehensive peace settlement between Israelis and Palestinians — a stance backed by the EU and by all American presidents before Trump.
He said: “(Trump’s decision) has created a backlash. It has frustrated the Palestinians as they think there isn't an honest broker.”
However, King Abdullah added: “I would like to reserve judgement because we are still waiting for the Americans to come out with their plan. But tremendous sympathy to the way the Palestinians are feeling. Jerusalem is such an emotional subject for everybody.”
He continued: “Jerusalem is a city that ends up dividing us, which I think will be catastrophic for mankind, or is it a city of hope that brings us together.”
He said it was eternal to Jews, Christians and Muslims and asked the audience to remember Pope Francis's message at Christmas, hoping that Jerusalem would be dealt with as part of a negotiated settlement.
“This is a city that could create tremendous problems for us in the future. It could be a city that brings us together or it could create violence that we haven't seen before,” said King Abdullah.
The king also told the meeting of world leaders in Davos that a one-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict would not be acceptable, but the alternative is not as many envisaged.
“The two-state solution the way that we envisage is not the same two-state solution that (Israel and the US) are looking at,” he said.
But he said he did not expect a one-state solution to emerge, as some have proposed.
“I can’t envisage a one-state solution that would be acceptable,” he said.
King Abdullah also spoke about the Arab Spring, saying that it would eventually give rise to pan-Arab sentiment among citizens of the region.
“Arab nationalism ended in the Arab Spring,” he said.
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