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
"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
"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