Jordanian king says status of Jerusalem must be resolved to avoid ‘catastrophe’

Updated 25 January 2018

Jordanian king says status of Jerusalem must be resolved to avoid ‘catastrophe’

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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New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay. (Supplied)
Updated 15 min 15 sec ago

New Filipino military chief vows to enforce controversial anti-terror law

  • Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas

MANILA: The new chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Lt. Gen. Gilbert Gapay, on Monday assumed office with a vow to enforce the country’s recently enacted anti-terrorism law.
The controversial legislation took effect last month, despite legal challenges at the Supreme Court to stop its implementation.
It criminalizes acts that incite terrorism “by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners, or other representations.” The new law also grants authorities broad powers to wiretap and tag individuals and groups as terrorists and detain them without charge for up to 24 days.
“We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts,” Gapay said in his first speech as army chief.
He called on Filipinos to support the military because beside dealing with terrorism and communist insurgency, the country now faced an unseen enemy in the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
The army, he said, was helping the government contain the deadly virus which had infected more than 100,000 people in the Philippines and claimed at least 2,100 lives.

We will capitalize on this very good anti-terror law. It is comprehensive, it is proactive, and it is geared to prevent occurrence of terroristic acts.

Lieutenant General Gilbert I. Gapay, Commanding general, Philippine Army

Gapay said his priority would be to bring an end to the New People’s Army (NPA) — the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, based primarily in rural areas — and local terrorist groups — Abu Sayyaf, the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), and factions of the Daulah Islamiyah — that operate mainly in the country’s south.
“There will be no let up as we continue to be at the forefront confronting all these threats. We are trained for this but still we need the support of other agencies; we need the support of our fellow Filipinos,” Gapay added.
He said the army would continue to collaborate with partner agencies and foreign counterparts in addressing domestic and regional threats, adding that it would suggest provisions to the rules and regulations of the new law to enhance intelligence sharing and strengthen maritime security to deter foreign terrorists from entering the country through its porous sea borders.
Prior to his appointment, Gapay, who replaces the retiring Gen. Felimon T. Santos, Jr., served as the 61st army commander.