Egypt, Jordan: Solution Other Than Two States Dangerous for Middle East

Jordan's king and Egypt's president discuss stalemate in Middle East peace, say two-state solution is not up for compromise.

Jack Khoury
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Jordan's King Abdullah II reviewing the honor guard alongside Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Cairo, February 21, 2017.
Jordan's King Abdullah II reviewing the honor guard alongside Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, Cairo, February 21, 2017.Credit: YOUSEF ALLAN/AFP
Jack Khoury

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sissi and Jordan's King Abdullah said in a Cairo meeting on Tuesday that a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict not based on a two-state solution will have dangerous consequences for the region.

In a joint statement, the two leaders said that establishing a Palestinian state was a national and a pan-Arab interest and that any effort to restart the Israeli-Palestinian peace process must be based on the two-state solution, which they said was the only solution to the conflict.

"The two sides discussed future movements to break the gridlock within the Middle East peace process, especially with U.S. President Donald Trump's administration taking power," the statement said.

"They also discussed mutual coordination to reach a two-state solution and establish a Palestinian state based on the June 4, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as a capital which is a national constant that cannot be given up."

The Jordanian state-run Petra news agency said that the king and the Egyptian president also discussed Jerusalem's and maintaining its historical and religious status, noting that any change in the status-quo could affect stability and security in the entire region.

Last week, Haaretz revealed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took part in a secret summit in Aqaba a year ago, where then-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry presented a plan for a regional peace initiative including recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and a renewal of talks with the Palestinians with the support of the Arab countries. King Abdullah and al-Sissi were also present at the meeting.

Netanyahu did not accept Kerry’s proposal and said he would have difficulty getting it approved by his governing coalition. Still, the Aqaba summit was the basis for the talks that began two weeks later  between Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union) on establishing a unity government.

In the meeting, Netanyahu proposed to freeze construction outside the large settlement blocs in the West Bank, as part of a five-point plan. A former U.S. official and an Israeli source familiar with the details of the summit, said Netanyahu requested in return to get American recognition of construction within the settlement blocs.

Last week at a press conference in Washington with Netanyahu, Trump refused to endorse a two-state solution. "I am looking at two states or one state, and I like the one that both parties like," Trump said, though he noted that "the two states looks like it could be the easier of the two."

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