Thu 05 Oct 2023 5:06 pm - Jerusalem Time
Hebrew Channel: Jordan seeks to assert authority on Palestinian issue amid Israel-Saudi normalization talks
The Jordanian king warns Saudi Arabia against being too lax regarding the concessions to Palestinians that are expected to be part of the deal
In the midst of ongoing talks surrounding a potential normalization agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia, one regional player has stepped forward to make its position known: Jordan.
King Abdullah II, speaking at an event in New York last month, conveyed a clear stance on the matter, emphasizing the importance of recognizing Jordan's role when it comes to the Palestinian issue.
The discussions regarding a prospective US-Saudi deal, which could include a normalization agreement with Israel, have raised concerns that critical elements of the Palestinian question are being sidelined.
King Abdullah II, traditionally regarded as a sponsor of the Palestinians, expressed deep apprehension regarding this development.
"I think that part of the challenge is with the Israeli government, this belief by some in the region, that you can parachute over Palestine, deal with the Arabs and work your way back. That does not work. And even those countries that have Abraham Accords with Israel have difficulty moving publicly on those issues when Israelis and Palestinians are dying. So unless we solve this problem, there will never be a true peace," stated King Abdullah II.
At a Middle East conference held on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York last month, the Jordanian king warned that Saudi Arabia may be too lax when it comes to Israeli concessions to the Palestinians as part of the deal. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas echoed similar sentiments at the UN, emphasizing the importance of the Palestinian people enjoying their full legitimate and national rights for lasting peace in the Middle East.
King Abdullah II has been candid about his grievances with Israel, particularly Prime Minister Netanyahu, with whom relations have been minimal. However, his primary concern revolves around a more significant issue – the future status of Muslim sites.
The Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), has expressed interest in expanding his custodianship to include all Muslim holy sites, beyond those located within the kingdom, to encompass the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. This ambition has raised concerns in Jordan, as it would diminish the Hashemite kingdom's historical role and reinforce Riyadh's position as the leader of the Muslim world.
"There is something that Saudi Arabia wants, there is something that the Israelis want, and there is something that the Americans want. What you have to add to that component is what do the Palestinians get out of it and actually what does the region get out of it because we are all invested in this together," explained King Abdullah II.
With the memory of remaining on the sidelines during the 2020 Abraham Accords still fresh, King Abdullah II is determined to assert Jordan's authority and status, particularly concerning the Palestinian issue, as a means to remain relevant in a rapidly changing regional landscape.