King Abdullah: 'Civil War' Between Jews and Arabs in Israel Is a Wake-up Call

Abdullah tells CNN that the Bennett-led government may not be the 'most ideal' to advance a two-state solution, but that it's important to get Israelis and Palestinians 'back to the table'

Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels
Jordanian King Abdullah II, right and Crown Prince Hussein, second right, in Washington, July 2021.
Jordanian King Abdullah II, right and Crown Prince Hussein, second right, in Washington, July 2021. Credit: Nicholas Kamm /Pool via AP
Ben Samuels
Ben Samuels

WASHINGTON – Jordan's King Abdullah II warned that the status quo in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict was unstable, claiming that Israel saw "civil war" for the first time since 1948 with the intercommunal violence that erupted during May's fighting with Gaza.

"When you look at the villages and the towns, Arab-Israelis and Israelis got into conflict. That was a wake-up call for the people of Israel and the people of Palestine.

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"Part of the discussions that we've had with our Israeli counterparts is how to invest in the livelihood of Palestinians, because if they lose hope then, God forbid, the next war is going to be even more damaging," Abdullah told CNN's Fareed Zakaria in a pre-recorded interview.

"In this last [conflict], there were no victors. The internal dynamics that we saw inside Israeli towns and cities is a bit of a wake-up call for all of us," Abdullah added.

The Jordanian king described the idea that Israel could maintain the status quo relating to the Palestinians as a "fragile facade," saying that "there's a template there – I know what's going to happen over the three weeks and how there's loss of life and tragedy on all sides."

Abdullah stressed the importance of a two-state solution, noting that a one-state solution would be far more challenging to Israelis who reject the former.

"What are you going to do? Are you going to push all the Palestinians out of their homes in the West Bank, and just create instability on the other side? At the end of the day, Jordan gets a vote on this. And I think our red lines have been clearly identified," he said.

President Joe Biden, right, meets with Jordan's King Abdullah II, left, in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, July 19, 2021. Credit: Susan Walsh,AP

Abdullah added that as the first Arab leader to have met U.S. President Joe Biden, it was important for him to present a unifying message during his recent visit to Washington.

"It was important for me, not only to meet with the Palestinian leadership after a war, but I met Bennett and Gantz because we really have to get people back to the table," the king said, referring to his secret meeting with Israeli prime minister and defense minister earlier this month.

Abdullah noted that while the Bennett-led government may not be the "most ideal" to advance a two-state solution, he is considering how to improve Jordan-Israel ties, which he said has not been good.

Abdullah said that he had come out of his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian counterparts "very encouraged" about getting the two parties to engage again.

"We've seen in the past couple of weeks not only better understanding between Israel and Jordan, but the voices coming out of both Israel and Palestine that we need to move forward and reset that relationship," he said.

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