In Amman, Pence reassured King Abdullah II that the US administration remains committed to reviving Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with Jordan as a main player.
By: AP and United with Israel Staff
Jordan’s king appealed Sunday to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence to “rebuild trust and confidence” in the possibility of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, following fallout from the Trump administration’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
Pence, in turn, tried to reassure the monarch that the Trump administration remains committed to restarting Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and views Jordan as a central player.
The vice president also said that “the United States of America remains committed, if the parties agree, to a two state solution.” Such a caveat deviates from long-standing U.S. support for a two-state solution as the only possible outcome of any peace deal.
Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem last month as capital of the Jewish state infuriated the Palestinians, who seek the eastern sector, including the city’s holy sites, as a future capital. They accused the U.S. of siding with Israel and said Washington can no longer serve as a mediator.
Trump’s declaration set off protests and condemnation across Arab and Muslim countries.
A Dilemma for the Jordanian King
It posed a dilemma for Abdullah, who is a staunch U.S. ally, but also derives his political legitimacy in large part from the Hashemite dynasty’s role as guardian of the Temple Mount – Judaism’s holiest site and Islam’s third-holiest. Any perceived threat to Muslim claims in the city is seen as a challenge to Jordan, where a large segment of the population is of Palestinian origin.
Pence told Jordan’s monarch on Sunday that Trump made it clear in his announcement on Jerusalem “that we are committed to continue to respect Jordan’s role as the custodian of holy sites, that we take no position on boundaries and final status.”
He said Jordan would continue to play a central role in any future peace efforts.
Pence Praises Jordan’s Contribution to War on Terror
The vice president also recognized Jordan’s contribution to a U.S.-led military campaign against Islamic State extremists who in recent months were pushed back from large areas in Iraq and Syria, both neighbors of Jordan.
Abdullah expressed concerns about the regional fallout from the Jerusalem decision.
“Today we have a major challenge to overcome, especially with some of the rising frustrations,” he said. He described the Pence visit as a mission “to rebuild trust and confidence” in getting to a two-state solution.
Another cause of concern for Jordan is the Trump administration’s decision to move the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Jordan vehemently opposes such a move if taken ahead of an Israeli-Palestinian partition deal.
Was Abbas Ever a Real Partner for Peace?
In Israel, many who have supported the two-state solution are questioning whether Abbas has ever been a serious peace partner since the Palestinian leader delivered a hate-filled speech last week in which he denied Israel’s right to exist and wished that US President Donald Trump’s “house should be destroyed.”
Providing a warped version of history, he denied Jewish ties to the Land of Israel and suggested that European Jewry chose to remain in their home countries during the Holocaust rather than emigrating.