M. Horn, R. Gordon and King Abdullah
M. Horn, R. Gordon and King AbdullahIsrael news photo: courtesy of AJC

Jordan's King Abdullah II turned to Jewish leaders from the United States this week in hopes of convincing them to help pressure Israel to accept the 2002 Saudi Peace Plan as a means of getting talks with the Palestinian Authority back on track. The king and his wife, Queen Rania, who was born in a region today controlled by the Palestinian Authority, met Tuesday with the heads of the American Jewish Congress at the Royal Court in Amman to urge them to support an independent PA state.

Abdullah told AJCongress President Richard S. Gordon and co-executive directors Matthew Horn and Marc Stern that Israel's security would be best served under the 2002 Saudi Peace Initiative. He added that it was in the strategic interests of the entire region for peace to be made between Israel and its Arab neighbors, including the Palestinian Authority.

The plan referred to by the Jordanian king was initiated by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2002. It calls for the 22-member Arab League to recognize the State of Israel as a country, but not necessarily as a Jewish state. In return, Israel would be required to surrender all of the lands of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as numerous neighborhoods in Israel's capital city of Jerusalem, and the ancient Old City of Jerusalem, which contains Judaism's holiest sites -- and where the proposed PA state intends to make its capital. In addition, the plan calls for Israel to allow the immigration of some five million foreign Arabs who claim ancestry in Israel, under a so-called "right of return."

The delegation discussed with the Jordanian king ways to eliminate the roadblocks that stalled negotiations between Israel and the PA, according to a front-page article published in the Jordan Times daily newspaper.

Abdullah also warned that intensive international action would be needed to create a "suitable environment for peacemaking" that could lead to regional prosperity and development. He added that "wasting the opportunity at hand" would cast doubt on the feasibility of the peace process and lead instead to more tension and conflict, which he said could affect "the entire globe."