Jordan, Palestine ponder joint suspension of Israel agreements

Palestinian protestors waves their national flag during a demonstration commemorating Land Day, near the border with Israel, east of Gaza City, on March 30, 2018. (AFP)
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Updated 18 May 2020

Jordan, Palestine ponder joint suspension of Israel agreements

  • ‘Cooperation will be the basis for further Arab harmonization’

AMMAN: Jordanian and Palestinian officials are considering taking simultaneous action including the suspension of their respective agreements with Israel as a reaction to any annexation of lands in the occupied territories.

Ahmad Deek, director of the office of the Palestinian foreign minister, told Arab News that Jordan and Palestine are in close coordination on a response to what is considered an Israeli land theft of Palestinian occupied territory. He said that Jordanian-Palestinian coordination is at “its highest level” despite the constraints imposed by the pandemic.
“We share the same goal and direction and we are certain that Jordanian and Palestinian cooperation will be the basis for further Arab harmonization to stop Israeli efforts,” he said.
Deek praised the recent statements by King Abdullah to the German magazine Der Spiegel. “We are proud of the king’s position as articulated in the recent interview with the German magazine. It sent a clear message to the occupiers.”
Najeeb Qadoumi, a member of the Palestinian National Council, said that all options are open. This includes the suspension of both the Jordan-Israeli 1984 Wadi Arab Treaty and the PLO-Israel 1993 Declaration of Principles.
President Abbas said in his latest speech that if any lands were annexed, there would be no justification to keep the Oslo Accords and the PLO will be free from all its commitments. Annexation is dangerous to both Jordan and Palestine and a joint action will send a powerful message.”
Jordanian MP Yehia Suud said that unilateral Israeli decisions represent a threat to Jordan, and that the people of Jordan are totally behind the statement of King Abdullah to Der Spiegel. “This is the time for the US to stand with the peace camp, not the camp of darkness. We call on the international community to stand up to the Zionist ambitions. Arab and Islamic countries must take an honorable position for justice and peace,” he said. Suud said that the Jordanian parliament has in the past called for the cancellation of the Wadi Arab treaty and the need to abrogate the gas deal.

FASTFACT

The two countries are in ‘close coordination on a response to what is considered an Israeli land theft of Palestinian occupied territory.’

Lamis Andoni, a Jordanian Palestinian analyst and former professor at the University of California in Berkeley, said that annexation would hurt both Palestinians and Jordanians.
“I think both sides need each other and they need to coordinate their steps, but they need to take a number of pre-steps before they make a major joint decision.
“Their position has to be clear and unequivocal, and then the US will take the joint position of Palestine and Jordan seriously. The annexation is a danger to both Palestinians and Jordanians. They should not count on either the US elections or a change of mind by the Israeli government. The cooperation has to be strategic in order to show seriousness.”
Palestinian political analyst Hani Al-Masri told Arab News that there is serious talk in Jordan about the need to suspend or cancel the treaty. Palestinians have to take a strong position on the ground but the leadership’s hands are handcuffed.” Al-Masri said that President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner made it clear to the Palestinians that “no annexation will take place at present.”
Ziad Abu Zayyad, a lawyer and former minister in the Palestinian government, said: “I don’t think it is wise to announce what actions will be taken now; strong positions should be kept until a specific law is presented to the Knesset for a vote.” Abu Zayyad also noted that the situation is very sensitive and that “any decision must be translated into action.”


Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

In this file photo taken on December 04, 2018, Marc and Debra Tice, the parents of US journalist Austin Tice (portrait L), who was abducted in Syria more than six years ago, speak at a press conference in Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 15 August 2020

Trump wrote to Assad about journalist missing in Syria, says Pompeo

  • In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump personally wrote to his Syrian counterpart Bashar Assad about the case of journalist Austin Tice, who has been missing since 2012, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.
“The US government has repeatedly attempted to engage Syrian officials to seek Austin’s release,” Pompeo said in a statement on the eighth anniversary of Tice’s disappearance.
“President Trump wrote to Bashar Assad in March to propose direct dialogue.”
Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.
Thirty-one years old at the time he was captured, Tice appeared blindfolded in the custody of an unidentified group of armed men in a video a month later.
Since then, there has been no official information on whether he is alive or dead.
In March, Trump said the United States had written a letter to authorities in Damascus, without specifying that he himself had written personally to Assad, who Washington wants out of power. At that time, Trump said he did not know if Tice was still alive.

HIGHLIGHT

Tice was a freelance photojournalist working for Agence France-Presse, McClatchy News, The Washington Post, CBS and other news organizations when he disappeared after being detained at a checkpoint near Damascus on Aug. 14, 2012.

“No one should doubt the president’s commitment to bringing home all US citizens held hostage or wrongfully detained overseas,” Pompeo said Friday.
“Nowhere is that determination stronger than in Austin Tice’s case.”
Pompeo said he and Trump hoped there would be “no need for another statement like this a year from now.”
“Austin Tice’s release and return home are long, long overdue. We will do our utmost to achieve that goal,” he added.
A year ago, the US government said it believed Tice was still alive.
His mother Debra Tice said in January that she had “credible information” to that effect, without elaborating.
In 2018, US authorities announced a $1 million reward for information that would lead to his recovery.