Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (R) embraces King Abdullah II of Jordan as the former arrives in Amman. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images)

Egyptian, Jordanian Leaders Meet Ahead of Kushner’s Visit

Aim is to coordinate positions on US President Donald Trump’s peace plan

Jordan’s King Abdullah ll met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi to arrive at a united position on the Trump Administration’s proposed plan to bring peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Just days before an American team is set to visit the Middle East, the two leaders met in Cairo to discuss “relations between the two countries and ways to promote levels of joint cooperation,” according to a statement from the Jordanian government.

Bassam al-Manaseer, former head of the Jordanian Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Media Line that the meeting was an attempt to form a united stance that rejects the “Deal of the Century,” which has become a somewhat disparaging reference to US President Donald Trump’s peace proposal.

Noting Jordan’s dire economic situation, al-Manaseer said, “[Amman] is under huge pressure by the United States, Saudi Arabia, and the [United Arab Emirates] to accept the American project.” But noting that the Palestinians have rejected the deal and that the Jordanian public opposes it, he added that “basically [Abdullah] is trying to [coordinate his] position with [that of] another Arab [nation] that refuses the accord.”

Ayman Abd Al Majeed, an Egyptian writer and head of the political section at the Rose al-Yusuf daily newspaper in Cairo, told The Media Line that during Abdullah’s visit several other Middle East issues were discussed. Nevertheless, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict topped the agenda.

“The Palestinian cause is a mutual interest for Amman and Cairo, with both countries supporting it since 1948,” Al Majeed said, adding that they both support the Palestinian right to establish a state based on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital.

“Egypt won’t accept anything less than that,” he stressed. “What the Palestinian people refuse, Cairo refuses.”

President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner will head the American delegation’s upcoming visit, whose aim is to promote the economic part of the peace plan that calls for a $50 billion investment in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and regional states including Egypt and Jordan.

Accompanying Kushner will be lead US negotiator Jason Greenblatt. The American team is expected to visit Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar.

Nabil Shaath, a senior Palestinian Authority official, told The Media Line that the Jordan is “very supportive of the Palestinian people and [its] leadership. Amman is very important as it [is] in the heart of the Palestinian cause.”

Shaath said that not only Jordan opposes the American plan, but Kuwait, Iraq and other Arab states do as well. “King Abdullah isn’t alone and the passion is significant,” he said.

Although Jordan sent representatives to the summit in Bahrain for the unveiling of the US economic plan, King Abdullah said that was only because of “the importance of attending any conference regarding the Palestinian[s].”

The PA has rejected the American initiative, since it first focuses on urging Arab countries to support investments in the West Bank and Gaza before addressing the thorny issues at the center of the conflict with Israel.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has characterized the “Deal of the Century” as a “shameful bargain” that “will go to hell.”  He said any peace proposal must begin with core political elements such as the delineation of borders and the future status of Jerusalem.

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