Daily Israel Report

King Abdullah Visits Abbas on Eve of Hamas Unity Deal

Jordan’s King Abdullah visits Ramallah for the first time in 11 years – and two days before Abbas and Hamas are to from a unity government.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/21/2011, 1:33 PM

Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II (archives)
Mahmoud Abbas, King Abdullah II (archives)
Flash 90

Jordan’s King Abdullah visited Ramallah for the first time in 11 years on Monday – two days before Abbas and Hamas are to renew a unity government.

The King did not state the reason for his visit other than to declare his support for the establishment of the Palestinian Authority as a state and his opposition to a Jewish presence in all of the land claimed by the PA.

The monarch is faced with a brewing civil war on his border with Syria and growing dissent by Bedouin and Arabs in Jordan who claim Israel as their homeland. His may be worried about the prospect of Hamas returning to a unified Palestinian Authority government, which is conditioned on the removal of American-backed Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Despite King Abdullah’s support of PA claims, a senior aide said Jordan does not consider Israel’s pre-agreement to withdraw from Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley a condition for the renewal of direct talks between PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and Israel.

Abbas has frozen talks for more than two years because of his demand, and the king’s rare visit may have been timed with the visit of U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who met with Abbas Sunday night and is to talk with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Monday as the Obama administration continues to struggle to revive the long-dead “diplomatic process.”

A unity government of the Fatah faction, headed by Abbas, and Hamas, would be another nail in the American diplomatic coffin

In a recent interview with the BBC, King Abdullah reiterated the theory that agreeing to Palestinian Authority demands for a state would eliminate the Iranian threat.

“The premise for Iran attacking Israel is the injustice against the Palestinians and the future of Jerusalem,” King Abdullah said.

“Why would Iran want to attack, why would Iran be a threat to Israel? So there is two ways of looking at it: You can go to war and create a problem between Iran and Israel, or you could solve the Palestinian problem and integrate yourself into the neighborhood and the first people who would protect you would be the rest of us neighbors,” he reasoned.