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Jordanian King: Failure in MidEast Peace Talk puts region at risk

Sunday December 05, 2010 08:21:06 AM, Agencies

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Manama: Jordan's King Abdallah December 04 warned if solution to the Palestine crisis is not found the region would continue its slide into darkness.

"The region will not enjoy security and stability unless we solve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and Arabs, Muslims and Israelis find peace", he said while delivering the keynote address at the International Institute for Strategic Studies Regional Security Summit in Manama.

He reiterated the Arab world is committed to the peace initiative first floated by the Saudi Ruler, King Abdullah. "The Arab Peace Initiative offers more than just an end of conflict ... It offers a lasting peace, that will allow Israel to have normal relations with 57 Arab and Muslim countries, and will free our region from the threat of war and conflict."

The Jordanian King, however, emphasized that this opportunity cannot last forever. "Geographic and demographic changes are threatening the essence of the initiative -- a two state solution, which will guarantee the Palestinians the freedom and statehood they have long been denied and will ensure for Israel the security it seeks."

"As a solution continues to elude us, faith in negotiations as the only path to peace and justice is eroding, and if hope is killed, radical forces will prevail. The region will sink into more vicious warfare and instability ... threatening security far beyond the borders of the Middle East', he added.

This is why he said it is essential to rescue the new round of negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis. "The talks were launched in Washington in last September, against the backdrop of pessimism. We all knew how difficult it was to restore trust between the parties and move forward, but we also knew that a vacuum in peace efforts will be too costly ... And we hoped that all sides had realized that the status quo could not be sustained ... That it only means sliding into darkness."

He said now is the last chance to end the conflict. "We can, and must, end the deadlock. To do so, we do not need new solutions. We need will; we need commitment, and we need courage to make hard decisions."


"The building of settlements has to stop, and the parties must sit around the negotiation table ... to discuss territories ... borders ... security ... refugees ... Jerusalem, and other final status issues. Only through such serious negotiations will we get to the end game -- an independent and viable Palestinian state, living side by side a secure Israel that is accepted and accepting in a region of peace", he said.

The alternative, he warned, are new conflicts that will reverberate far beyond the borders of the Middle East. "Conflicts that will threaten the strategic national interests of the United States, Europe and the rest of us in the international community. The world has already been dragged into regional conflicts ... And it will certainly be involved in new confrontations that will erupt in this environment of frustration and tension."

Fielding questions from delegates after his address, the king addressed Israel's vision of its own future. "The Israelis that I spoke to could not imagine what type of country they would inhabit in 10 years' time," he said.


"They face a profound choice, living in 'Fortress Israel' or making peace with the Palestinians. The major choice for Israelis over the next decade is either a democratic Israel at peace with its neighbors or an apartheid Israel."





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