At White House, King Abdullah attacks ’70 years of Israeli occupation’

He stressed that the only solution to the violence was “a political horizon that leads to a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution.”

Jordan’s King Abdullah warned against the danger of “seven decades of occupation” as he called for a two-state resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during a press conference with US President Joe Biden at the White House.

“Seven decades of occupation, death, and destruction have proven beyond any doubt that there can be no peace without a political horizon,” said the monarch. 

King Abdullah has been a strong proponent of a two-state solution at the pre-1967 lines, with east Jerusalem as the capital. Top ArticlesRead More

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Those who support that position often speak of their opposition to the more than five decades of Israeli “occupation” of the territories of the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem.

At issue for ’67 line supporters is Israel’s annexation of east Jerusalem in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day War and its military rule of the West Bank, both territories which had been “occupied by Jordan” since 1948 and until that war. 

 The Al-Qibli Chapel, Part of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the Old City of Jerusalem (credit: ANDREW SHIVA/WIKIMEDIA)
The Al-Qibli Chapel, Part of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in the Old City of Jerusalem (credit: ANDREW SHIVA/WIKIMEDIA)

They are also opposed to IDF control of Gaza, which had been under Egyptian “occupation” during that same 1948-1967 period. The IDF withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and, in light of the October 7 attack, is now waging a war to regain military control of that enclave from Hamas.The term “seven decades of occupation” is most often used by those who question the very existence of Israel, even within its sovereign 1948 borders, recognized by the United Nations.Advertisement

Hashemite Kingdom’s role as the custodian of holy sites

Biden, during his remarks, recognized the Hashemite Kingdom’s special role as the custodian of the “holy sites’ in Jerusalem. 

King Abdullah also spoke of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as al-Haram, al-Sharif, as he warned against Israeli actions at that site, which is the holiest one in Judaism and the third most sacred site to Muslims.

“Continued escalations by extremist settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem’s holy sites and the expansion of illegal settlements will unleash chaos on the entire region,” King Abdullah said.

“The vast majority of Muslim worshippers are not being allowed to enter Al-Aqsa Mosque. Christian churches have also voiced concerns about increasing and unprecedented restrictions and threats,” King Abdullah said.

The White House later said that Biden spoke with King Abdullah about his support for the status quo at the Temple Mount, an arrangement by which only Muslims can pray at that site, while members of all other faiths can visit.

“The President underscored the importance of upholding the status quo at the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, recognizing Jordan’s crucial role as the custodian of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem.”

The meeting between the two men focused in part on the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza, with King Abdullah at the press conference calling for a permanent ceasefire, while the US has pushed for an extended humanitarian pause.

“We need a lasting ceasefire now,” King Abdullah said, calling specifically for Israel not to launch a military operation in Gaza’s Rafah. 

“We cannot afford an Israeli attack on Rafah. It is certain to produce another humanitarian catastrophe. The situation is already unbearable for over a million people who have been pushed into Rafah since the war started,” King Abdullah stated.

“This war must end. We must urgently and immediately work to ensure the sustainable delivery of sufficient aid to Gaza through all possible entry points and mechanisms,” he stated.

Jordanian King is against suspending aid to UNRWA

He took issue with the US decision to suspend aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency pending a UN investigation into allegations that 12 of its staff members had participated in the October 7 massacre and killing of Israelis.

The UN services 5.9 Palestinian refugees in Gaza, the West Bank, east Jerusalem, Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. The White House has said that the aid suspension impacts money that had been earmarked for Jordan.“Restrictions on vital relief aid and medical items are leading to inhumane conditions. No other U.N. agency can do what UNRWA is doing in helping the people of Gaza through this humanitarian catastrophe,” King Abdullah said.

UNRWA also plays an important role in the other countries it operates in, King Abdullah stated. Its work is vital in Jordan, where it services 2.3 million Palestinians, he stated.

“It is imperative that UNRWA continues to receive the support it needs to carry out its mandate,” King Abdullah stated.

He gave a nod to the Hamas-led October 7 attack, in which 1,200 Israelis were killed and another 253 seized as hostages, as he spoke about the Palestinians killed and injured as a result of the Gaza war sparked by that October 7th attack. 

Hamas has asserted that over 28,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza in war-related violence. Israel has said that some 12,000 of those killed are combatants.

“All attacks against innocent civilians — women and children — including those of October 7th, cannot be accepted by any Muslim, as I have previously stressed.

“We must make sure the horrors of the past few months since October 7th are never repeated nor accepted by any human being,” King Abdullah said.

He stressed that the only solution to the violence was “a political horizon that leads to a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution — an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital but living side by side with Israel in peace and security.  

“This is the only solution that will guarantee peace and security for the Palestinians and the Israelis, as well as the entire region,” King Abdullah stated. 

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