King Abdullah II of Jordan has issued a warning to Israel’s new right-wing government not to increase pressure on Palestinians in Jerusalem or undermine the kingdom’s influence in the city.
However, he left open the possibility for Jordan to cooperate with the new government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu who was inaugurated on Thursday if it pursues peace and regional economic development.
King Abdullah of Jordan said his country would react if Israel changed the status of Jerusalem, which Jordan controls.
Jordan says it has custodianship for Al Aqsa Mosque and other significant sites in Jerusalem. Jordan’s position has existed since the 1920s. Many of Jordan’s million inhabitants are Palestinian.
In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty that explicitly recognised Jordan’s ‘special role’ in Muslim sites in Jerusalem, but did not explicitly endorse the kingdom’s custodianship claims.
The inclusion of far-right politicians in Mr Netanyahu’s coalition cabinet has stoked fears of a repeat of the violence in occupied Palestinian territories and Israel last year. Itamar Ben-Gvir, a hard-line member of the Israeli parliament, was just appointed public security minister.
Israeli incursions into the Al Aqsa Mosque complex and the East Jerusalem district of Sheikh Jarrah sparked a war between militant groups in Gaza and the Israeli military, which resulted in unrest. Besides 2015, this year has been the most violent so far.
Likud declared on Wednesday that the current situation in Jerusalem and other sacred sites would be maintained, but it promised to build more settlements in the occupied West Bank. Itamar Ben-Gvir‘s appointment as public security minister raised King Abdullah’s concerns about the Israeli cabinet. He has frequently used incendiary language to describe the Palestinians.
King Abdullah told CNN that he hoped there were many Israelis who cared as much as he did. Netanyahu said that without a solution for the Palestinians, Israel’s integration into the region would be difficult. The long-standing impasse in the region can be solved by promoting mutual economic interests, the king said.
‘When I am invested in your success because your success is my success, at the end of the day that means we can move forward’.
Image Credit: AFP