Jordanian Foreign Minister: Israel Will Have to Deal With Consequences of Annexation

Jack Khoury
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Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a news conference in Amman, Jordan, November 11, 2019
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks during a news conference in Amman, Jordan, November 11, 2019Credit: MUHAMMAD HAMED/ REUTERS
Jack Khoury

Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a meeting with President Mahmoud Abbas and top Palestinian officials on Thursday that Israel "will be choosing conflict and escalation" if it proceeds with its declared intent to annex parts of the West Bank in July. 

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A Palestinian source told Haaretz that Safadi came for the snap visit in Ramallah via helicopter, as part of talks on the response to Israel’s annexation plans King Abdullah II is conducting with Arab countries, the United States and European states.

"If Israel goes ahead with annexation, it will be choosing conflict and escalation instead of peace. It will have to deal with the consequences – not just in its relationship with Jordan. It will also be harming regional efforts to achieve a just and comprehensive solution," Safadi said after the meeting. 

"Jordan will stand by the Palestinians and will use any means at its disposal to guarantee them rights," Safadi said, adding that Jordan will invest all its efforts in pressuring Israel against annexation and for renewal of negotiations, annexation will "kill the two state solution and all principles of a peace process."

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Maliki stressed that Jordan and the Palestinian Authority have adopted a coordinated policy that annexation must be stopped and negotiations must be resumed on the basis of international agreements.

According to the source, the fact that Safadi himself came signals support for the Palestinian position. The visit is also intended to pass along messages from Arab leaders, and specifically the United Arab Emirates government, following conversations King Abdullah held with them in the past several days.

The Palestinian leadership, the source added, sees the start of an “effective pressure campaign” on Israel and the U.S. to block the proposed annexation.

Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said in a tweet: "I assured King Abdullah in our phone conversation of UAE's full solidarity with Jordan & our categorical rejection of accepting Israel's illegal annexation of Palestinian lands. We are working with our Arab brethren & the international community against this illegal move."

Safadi's visit comes amid heightened tensions between the Kingdom of Jordan and Palestinian Authority with Israel in light of Prime Minister Netanyahu's promise to advance on annexation plans of the Jordan Valley and settlements in the West Bank as early as July 1. 

On Wednesday, Netanyahu presented Defense Minister Benny Gantz with a series of possible annexation scenarios, including a purely "symbolic" step, amid uncertainty regarding the exact shape and timeline of the prime minister's declared intention of annexation.

King Abdullah II of Jordan held at least five briefings with senior members of Congress from both parties, in an attempt to recruit them to the anti-annexation cause. The king “warned that any unilateral Israeli measure to annex lands in the West Bank is unacceptable and undermines the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region," said a statement by his court. 

Jordan has been the most outspoken Arab country so far in its opposition to Israel’s annexation plans. Others have also expressed opposition, such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, but not as vocally and persistently as Jordan, a country where a large part of the population is of Palestinian origin, or has close family ties to Palestinians.

Last month, King Abdullah warned in an interview with a German newspaper that if Israel moves forward with annexation in July, it will face a major clash with the kingdom.

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