Jordan's king: Palestinians could launch own Arab Spring if talks with Israel don't resume
King Abdullah warns of 'new intifada or a new cycle of violence and counter violence' if Palestinians feel prospects for a peaceful settlement of their conflict with Israel have reached a dead end, the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper said.
Jordan's King Abdullah believes that Palestinians could launch an Arab Spring-style revolt if they felt prospects for a peaceful settlement of their conflict with Israel had reached a dead end, a pan-Arab newspaper reported on Wednesday.
He welcomed efforts by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, but warned of a narrowing window for peace due to Israeli settlement building, according to the report in the London-based Asharq al-Awsat newspaper.
"Fading prospects of peace will explode relations between Palestinians and Israelis in a manner emulating the Arab Spring protests, either through a new intifada [uprising] or a new cycle of violence and counter violence," he said.
King Abdullah also said that Syria's war could ignite a regional sectarian conflict unless global powers helped to convene peace talks soon.
Situated near Syria and next door to Israel and the West Bank, U.S.-allied Jordan is affected by instability in the region. Jordan has taken in more than 500,000 Syrians out of a total 1.5 million who have fled the war, United Nations officials say.
"It has become clear to all that the Syrian crisis may extend from being a civil war to a regional and sectarian conflict... the extent of which is unknown," King Abdullah said in an interview.
"It is time for a more serious Arab and international coordination to stop the deterioration of the Syrian crisis. The situation cannot wait any longer," he added.
The Syrian civil war, which has claimed more than 93,000 lives in two years, has increasingly turned into a sectarian conflict. The Iranian-backed Lebanese Hezbollah announced last month it had joined fighting against Saudi-backed, Sunni-led rebels trying to oust President Bashar al-Assad.
U.S. President Barack Obama last week said that Washington, keeping a wary eye on the war, has left about 700 combat-equipped troops in Jordan after a training exercise. The United States had previously decided to leave Patriot missiles and warplanes there.
King Abdullah said that efforts to convene a peace conference bringing together the Syrian government and the opposition remained "the logical and ideal way" to find a peaceful solution to the crisis.
Talks between the United States and Russia in Geneva on Tuesday to set up such a conference produced no agreement, with the powers on either side of the conflict failing to agree when it should be held or who would be invited.