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Jordanian King Blames Israeli Politics, Annexation Talk for Strained Ties

Jordan’s King Abdullah II has blamed strained bilateral ties with Israel on ongoing political dysfunction in Jerusalem in addition to repeated vows by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to annex parts of the West Bank. Abdullah is on a week-long trip to Europe, where he will discuss growing tensions between the US and Iran; the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Syria; the potential reemergence of the Islamic State terrorist group; and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Regarding the last issue, the Jordanian monarch seems to have confirmed reports that US President Donald Trump is preparing to release his Middle East peace proposal. “We keep hearing that sometime soon the plan would be presented,” Abdullah said. On this point, he reiterated Amman’s longstanding position that the conflict can be resolved only through the creation of an independent Palestinian state, with the eastern part of Jerusalem as its capital – conditions that may not dovetail with the Trump Administration’s views. With respect to Israel, Abdullah emphasized: “There is a certain rhetoric [related to annexation] coming out of Israel because of the election politics, which is creating tremendous concern to all of us in the region. They [the Israelis] are moving way off into a direction that is completely uncharted territory for all of us,” he said, adding that this would lead to “more instability and miscommunication.” Abdullah is slated to address the European Union parliament in Brussels on Wednesday.