Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has warned Israel’s plan to annex large parts of the occupied Palestinian territories would pose an “unprecedented danger” and have wider consequences for peace in the region.
His comments on Thursday came during a visit to Ramallah in the occupied West Bank for talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas “within the framework of continuous coordination and consultation” between the two sides on the annexation issue.
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The trip is part of efforts spearheaded by Jordan against Israel’s plans to annex illegally-built Jewish settlements in the West Bank as well as the water-rich Jordan Valley, moves greenlighted by the United States as part of a controversial plan unveiled by President Donald Trump in January.
The Palestinians rejected Trump’s proposal as utterly biased in favour of Israel.
“The position I carried with me today has been the kingdom’s permanent historic position to stand with our Palestinian brothers and their right to freedom and to establish their Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital,” Safadi told a joint news conference alongside his Palestinian counterpart, Riyad al-Maliki.
“We have said in the past that annexation means that Israel had chosen conflict over peace and it alone bear the responsibility of its decisions,” he added, calling the issue of annexation “an unprecedented danger to the peace process”.
“Consequences [of the annexation] are not only on the Israeli-Jordanian ties but also on the entire peace efforts in the region,” Safadi said.
Jordan and Egypt are the only Arab countries to have peace agreements with Israel.
On Tuesday, Jordan’s King Abdullah II addressed US congressional leaders via video conference to discuss Jordan-US strategic ties and to rally support against the planned annexation.
Abdullah reiterated the Jordanian stance on the importance of “establishing an independent, sovereign and viable Palestinian state”, according to a statement by the royal court.
The Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said it could begin the annexation process from July 1.
The planned move would deprive Palestinians of key agricultural land and water resources, especially in the Jordan Valley region. It would also effectively kill the two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict that was based on the idea of land for peace.
Trump’s plan foresees the eventual creation of a demilitarised Palestinian state on the remaining patchwork of disjointed parts of the Palestinian territories without occupied East Jerusalem, which Palestinians want as the capital of their state.
At the news conference in Ramallah, al-Maliki praised the Jordanian efforts.
“The Jordanian brothers are making strong and brave efforts all over the world as evident in King Abdullah’s efforts with the US Congress trying to prevent Israel from going ahead with its plans,” he said.
Saeb Erekat, secretary-general of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said the Palestinian and Jordanian leadership shared the same positions on annexation and other issues.
“Arab peace initiative, end the occupation, realising the independence of the state of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the 1967 borders,” he wrote on Twitter.
President Mahmoud Abbas received HE Aymen Safadi FM of Jordan.Joint positions:Against annexation.Stay the course with Int. law, Arab peace Initiative end the occupation , realising the independence of the State of Palestine with East Jerusalem as its capital on the 1967 borders https://t.co/flS2WhW7DM
— Dr. Saeb Erakat الدكتور صائب عريقات (@ErakatSaeb) June 18, 2020
Yehya Alsaud, a Jordanian politician and chairman of the Palestine Committee, also welcomed the king’s efforts to coordinate with the Palestinian leadership and called for the cancellation of Jordan’s peace agreement with Israel that was signed in 1994.
“Israel should end its thuggish behaviour against the Palestinians and in the Arab world,” he told Al Jazeera.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 war. It later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.
Kevin Jon Heller, professor of international law at the University of Amsterdam and professor of law at the Australian National University, told Al Jazeera that the Israeli planned annexation is “clear and fundamental violation of international law that prohibits annexation of territories taken by force”.
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