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Clear stand on any peace agreement

Jan 06,2014 - Last updated at Jan 06,2014

His Majesty King Abdullah, in his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Amman on Sunday, reiterated Jordan’s support for an agreement between Israelis and Palestinians as long as it safeguards the Kingdom’s legitimate interests.

Jordan’s concerns in the context of any peace agreement that could be brokered by these two sides are obvious. Foremost among them are the rights of the refugees, which the Palestinian leadership cannot relinquish and which Israel should not attempt to solve at the expense of the countries hosting them.

Jordan’s special role in East Jerusalem are cemented not only in the 1994 peace treaty signed with Israel, but also in last year’s agreement the King reached with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, which accords the Monarch a special role in protecting the holy places in East Jerusalem.

Any understanding on East Jerusalem must therefore comply fully with this special status accorded to the Hashemite family, that of custodian of its holy places.

One other issue of concern in case an agreement is reached by Palestinians and Israelis is the status of the River Jordan, which Israel wishes to have as a “security” frontier and, as such, along which it wishes to deploy its army.

Jordan has its own armed forces to protect its side of the Jordan River and the Palestinians can be expected to do the same to protect their border with Jordan.

An Israeli force along this border line would be tantamount to interference; it would strengthen its grip on Palestinians’ lives and would show lack of trust in a nation with which it signed a peace agreement.

The most critical issue, one cannot stop reiterating, is that of Palestinian refugees who should be allowed to exercise their legitimate right to return to their homeland, should they so wish, or seek compensation.

Jordan has hosted millions of Palestinian refugees on the understanding that one day they will be granted the right to return, in accordance with all the relevant UN resolutions.

Therefore, understandably, Jordan cannot but reject any framework for a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians that ignores this basic right.

The Kingdom’s rights, its security and stability, cannot be sacrificed to serve the interests of others.

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