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‘Substitute homeland’ an illusion in the minds of rumour-mongers — King

Feb 23,2014 - Last updated at Feb 23,2014

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah on Sunday reasserted that Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine, stressing that talk about Jordan “a substitute homeland” for Palestinians is baseless, a Royal Court statement said.

At a meeting with senior government officials and leading lawmakers, the King reassured Jordanians, that the substitute homeland notion “exists only in the minds of few people who want to create some sort of confusion”, repeating that every year.  

Media, political and grass-roots circles have recently witnessed a debate over the fate of Palestinian refugees, amid rumours that a US peace plan in the making will ignore the right of return for around five million Palestinians whose families were forced out of Palestine in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab-Israeli war, which ended in the creation of Israel. Jordan is the largest host of Palestinian refugees, most of whom have acquired citizenship. 

The King told the senior officials and legislators that whenever there is a serious effort to push forward the peace process, talk about “a substitute homeland” for the Palestinians re-emerges”. He noted that the idea will never materialise and is no more than an “illusion”.

The King said that he wanted to discuss the issue before he left for his recent visit to the US, but then he thought it would be better to raise it after he was back. 

“I decided to raise the issue after my visit, so it would not be possible for anyone to say that things changed after my visit to the US,” the King said. 

His Majesty said Jordan’s position has always been clear on the issue, noting that despite frequent assurances, the rumours have been re-emerging over the past 15 years or more by the same group who harbour ill intentions for the country. 

It has been raised by the same group that seeks to destabilise the country, saying that usually, those persons start spreading rumours in spring, but this year they came out earlier.

Next year, the King warned, the names of those individuals will be disclosed if they insist on repeating the same behaviour.

“Jordan has more important issues that it must focus on, particularly political and economic reforms,” the Monarch said, calling on Jordanians to act collectively to confront rumour spreaders. 

His Majesty also underlined the support of US President Barack Obama and the UK to Jordan. 

The King said he is shocked at the fact that some people link the assistance provided to Jordan to pressures by the donors to extract concessions from Amman, noting that Jordan would never trade its interests for any amount of money. 

The King described the US visit as very successful, especially regarding the economic situation and challenges facing the Jordanian government and people. 

Underscoring international appreciation of Jordan’s regional role, the King commended the support of the US administration to Jordan and its assistance to it in facing various challenges. 

Jordan has been fully aware of all the details of the negotiations on the final status issues, especially in relation to “Jerusalem, refugees, borders, water and security”, the King said, noting that Jordan is helping all parties to boost chances to achieve Middle East peace.    

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, Senate President Abdur-Ra’uf S. Rawabdeh, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh and other senior Jordanian officials, as well as members of the permanent office of the Senate and the Lower House. Participants reviewed the outcome of the King’s visit to the US and Mexico. They also focused on the latest developments of the peace process and the peace negotiations that are currently under way between the Palestinians and the Israelis. 

Meanwhile, King Abdullah left for an official visit to Singapore and Indonesia during which he will hold talks with senior officials from both countries on ways to strengthen economic ties and discuss regional and international political developments, the Royal Court announced.

In Indonesia, King Abdullah will deliver a speech at the Nahdlatul Ulama Interfaith Conference: “Islam for Peace and Civilisation” in which he will highlight the role of Islam.  

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