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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 October 2018

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warns of ‘dangers’ to Jerusalem

He called the denial of a Palestinian state the region’s ‘key crisis’

Jordan's King Abdullah II addresses the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 25, 2018 in New York. AFP
Jordan's King Abdullah II addresses the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations on September 25, 2018 in New York. AFP

Jordan’s King Abdullah II warned of the “dangers” to Jerusalem in his UN address on Tuesday, after unilateral moves by Israel and the US administration to diminish Palestinian claims to the contested city.

He said that all UN resolutions passed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict “recognises the equal rights of the Palestinian people to a future of peace, dignity and hope”.

“This is the heart of a two-state settlement. The only path to a comprehensive lasting peace,” he said.

Despite the view that US President Donald Trump is emboldening Israel’s control over the city, King Abdullah said the US “has long been committed to peace and has a leading role in our progress going forward”.

Mr Trump relocated the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in May in a move much criticised in the Arab world. It effectively recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel as no other country had their diplomatic representation located in the city.

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He said there are serious “dangers to its multi-faith heritage and identity” in the city where it serves as the custodian of Christian and Muslim holy sites in the Old City. Jordan still sits on the Islamic trust that presides over the Noble Sanctuary, or Haram Al Sharif, in East Jerusalem, the territory that Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

“How can we accept a status quo of continuing crises and bigotry,” he said.

He called on the UN agency for Palestinian refugees to be fully funded again after Washington cut all of its funding to UNRWA last month in a bid to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table.

Officials in Ramallah have cut all public diplomatic ties with their American counterparts, citing their bias in favour of Israel in the series of moves that have harmed the Palestinian cause, its coffers and its standing in any future negotiations with Israel.

King Abdullah said the notion of a binational state between Jordan and the Palestinians would be an “abandonment of peace” as continued attempts to achieve a two-state solution fail.

In earlier meetings with world leaders on the sidelines of the summit, King Abdullah emphasised the importance of the European Union’s role in supporting efforts to reach a final peace deal between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the basis of a two-state solution, according to Jordanian news agency Petra.