Jordan's Abdullah: I'm pessimistic about chances of ending Mideast conflict
Speaking with CNN, Jordanian King says has yet to see a sign that Israel was serious about the two-state solution, warns of possible war if status quo between Israel, Palestinians remains.
Israel is not interested in the two-state solution to Mideast peace, Jordan's King Abdullah II said in an interview on Monday, adding that, for the first time, he was "very pessimistic" as to the chances on ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Abdullah's comments came just as Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman severely criticized Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, calling him the "greatest obstacle" to Mideast peace.
"If there is one obstacle that should be removed immediately, it is [Abbas]," he said. "If he were to return the keys and resign, it would not be a threat, but a blessing."
The blame game continued later Monday, when former chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat rejected the notion that the Arab Spring was hindering the peace process, instead blaming the Israeli occupation and settlement expansion on the negotiations stall.
In an interview to CNN just hours later, the Jordanian leaders said that, despite comments to the contrary by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he felt the region should wait and "see whether Israel is really serious about a two state solution."
"I have met [Netanyahu] several times, and we have had long conversations and everything he has told me is fantastic, and I couldn’t have said it better myself on what needs to be done," Abdullah said, adding, however that what "I’ve seen of the political system in Israel, I’ve seen completely the opposite. Israel is not really interested in a two state solution, and what is the other option?"
Earlier in the CNN interview, Abdullah said that a lack of American support of attempts to resume negotiations could leave "a vacuum," adding that "whenever there is a status quo, there’s usually a war."
"So we’re missing a tremendous opportunity and I am one of the most optimistic people you’ll meet in the Middle East and for the first time I’m very pessimistic about the Israelis and Palestinians," the Jordanian king added.
"I think the one state solution has tremendous negative implications for all of us including the Israelis, Abdullah added, saying that "today, we’re all sceptical, at a time when the Israeli/Palestinian situation should be front and centre."