“Jordan is Jordan,” Abdullah said in response to a question about the Israeli right’s proposals to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by turning Jordan into a Palestinian homeland. This is a scenario that seems plausible to the Israeli right, given that a majority of Jordanians are ethnically Palestinians.
Abdullah, however, categorically rejected the idea, describing his country as part of a “mixed society of different ethnic and religious backgrounds”.
“The Palestinians don’t want to be in Jordan,” Abdullah said. “They want their land, they want their football team. They want their flag to fly over their houses.
Throughout the interview, he stressed the importance of a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Jordan’s vision for this plan is that of two states based on the pre-1967 lines, in which East Jerusalem and the entire West Bank would be within the final borders of a Palestinian state.
The Biden administration also supports a two-state resolution, but has focused on preserving the option of such a plan without embarking on any initiative for the direct talks needed to complete that option. Abdullah said it was important not to give up on the two-state solution, warning that the only other option was a one-state solution.
“If we’re not talking about the two-state solution, are we talking about a one-state solution? Abdullah asked Zakaria. “Will it be fair, transparent and democratic? I think the one-state solution is much more difficult for those in Israel who defend this theory, ”Abdullah said.
In this scenario, he asked, “What are you going to do. Will you drive all Palestinians out of their homes in the West Bank and create instability on the other side? [Jordan,]? »
He referred to his meeting last Monday with US President Joe Biden at the White House. He was the first Middle East leader to sit face to face with Biden, in office since January.
Ahead of the meeting, Abdullah told CNN he had had separate talks with PA President Mahmoud Abbas and with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Defense Minister Benny Gantz.
According to Israeli reports, Abdullah and Gantz met in secret in February in an attempt to increase the latter’s chances of defeating former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the election, but there were no reports of a Gantz meeting. -Abdullah from the new government headed by the Prime Minister. Naftali Bennett was sworn in. Abdullah also spoke of a meeting with a prime minister, but it was not clear whether he was referring to the secret meeting held earlier this month between him and Bennett.
At the center of his concerns, said Abdullah, was the question of how to “bring people back to the table” to resume talks frozen since 2014, even though the new government led by Bennett was not “the most ideal”. for a peace process.
Abdullah said he also wanted to improve ties between his country and Israel, which had “not been good”. It was a reference to the bad relationship that had existed between the Hashemite Kingdom and Netanyahu.
The king added that he came out of meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials feeling “very encouraged”.
“I think we have seen, over the past two weeks, not only a better understanding between Israel and Jordan, but also voices from Israel and Palestine that we need to move forward and reset this relationship,” said Abdullah to CNN.
This was important because the 11-day war in Gaza in May was a “wake-up call” to the dangers, both national and regional, of ignoring the Palestinian issue.
He specifically mentioned the ethnic violence between Jews and Arab Israelis during the war, also known as the Guardian of the Walls.
“Since 1948, it was the first time that I felt that a civil war was occurring in Israel. When you look at villages and towns, Arab Israelis and Israelis have come into conflict, ”the king said.
“If they lose hope and, God forbid, [there is] another cycle, the next war is going to be even more damaging, ”Abdullah warned. “There were no winners” in this latest war in Gaza, he said.
The king said the war also served as a warning to the four Arab countries that had normalized their relations with Israel under the Abraham Accords negotiated by the United States, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco and Sudan. .
Arab countries “considering their national security interests” consider a relationship with Israel to be “in their vested interests,” Abdullah said.
“This war was a reality check for all of us that while the Abraham Accords may expand, you cannot do it at the expense of the Israeli-Palestinian dialogue,” he said.
Separately, he warned of the economic crisis in Lebanon, saying “the bottom would fall” there in a few weeks.
Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.