Jordan's King:
'United States must play a role in Israel-PA peace'

King Abdullah II of Jordan criticizes Trump's Jerusalem declaration, but stresses U.S. is essential to any hope of Israel-PA peace.

Elad Benari ,

King Abdullah II
King Abdullah II

King Abdullah II of Jordan said on Sunday that the United States remains essential to any hope of a peaceful solution between Israel and Palestinian Arabs, despite widespread criticism of President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

"We cannot have a peace process or a peace solution without the role of the United States," the King was quoted by AFP as having told CNN.

He said this was true even after Trump decided to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv.

In December, Jordan called Trump's move "a violation of decisions of international law and the United Nations charter," and King Abdullah reiterated his concerns to Vice President Mike Pence who visited the Middle East last month.

On Sunday the King said Trump's decision had "created a backlash" by leaving Palestinians feeling "that there isn't an honest broker."

But, he added, "I'd like to reserve judgment, because we're still waiting for the Americans to come out with their (peace) plan."

"I think we have to give the Americans the benefit of the doubt and all work together" once the White House issues a peace plan, King Abdullah told CNN, while adding that "if it is not a good plan ... I don't think we've got a Plan B at this stage."

He warned that the stakes around the Jerusalem question are high, saying, "This is a city that could either create tremendous problems for us in the future, or it is an umbrella that gives us hope. It could be a tremendous city that brings us together or it could create aggression and violence that we've never seen before."

Following Trump's declaration on Jerusalem, an angry Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas declared that he would "no longer accept" any peace plan proposed by the United States following the Jerusalem recognition.

He is now planning to bypass the U.S. and Israel altogether by asking EU foreign ministersto recognize a Palestinian state on the pre-1967 territories with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.

Last week it was announced that Abbas will deliver a rare address to the UN Security Council on February 20, in which he is expected to respond to Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as well as Israeli “settlement expansion”.

Last Monday, King Abdullah II met with Abbas in the Al Husseiniya Palace in Amman. After the meeting, King Abdullah issued a public statement calling on the international community to “fulfill its responsibilities” towards Jerusalem’s Arab population, and to support UNRWA following American funding cuts.

"The international community must fulfil its responsibilities to protect the rights of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and Christians in Jerusalem," Abdullah said.

Jerusalem is, the Hashemite king argued, "the key to achieving peace and stability in the region."