Voicing support for Palestine’s efforts to seek full United Nations membership, King Abdullah II of Jordan today called for a vigorous international push with concrete steps to end the Middle East crisis based on the two-State solution of Israel and Palestine living side by side in peace.
“Not words, not process, but a decisive end to conflict and a new beginning in peace, the peace that comes from real statehood and recognized rights for Palestinians, allowing people to look forward in dignity and hope, a peace that brings real security for Israelis, outing aside their fortress mentality and achieving acceptance in their neighbourhood and the world,” he stressed in a speech to the General Assembly on the opening day of its annual general debate.
“We are today at a dangerous impasse,” he said, noting that Israel continued to build settlements in occupied Palestinian territory at every step of international efforts to end the conflict.
“President [Barack] Obama [of the United States] recognized this strategic imperative when he set the parameters for a solution last May 19th. The Arabs viewed these parameters positively.
Israel builds settlements,” he added.
“The Quartet, the European Union, and other representatives of the international community have put workable ideas on the table. The Arab States welcome them. Israel builds settlements.
That's where we find ourselves today.”
Stressing that a two-State solution alone can lead to a secure and lasting peace, with a sovereign, independent, and viable Palestine, and security and acceptance for Israel, the King said negotiations must go forward quickly to resolve the final status of all four key issues – borders, Jerusalem, refugees, and settlements.
“Only then will the conflict cease to be a flashpoint for global violence, and people on both sides can get on with a future in peace,” he added. But, “even as we speak, Israeli settlement activity is ongoing, despite every ruling of international law, and in the face of strong international protest. We are seeing settlement activity in Jerusalem, although this is one of the key final status issues that can only be resolved through negotiations.”
Turning to the Arab Spring that has seen long-entrenched rulers toppled in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya and unrest roil several other countries, King Abdullah welcomed reform, noting that Jordan was embarking on a major revitalization of its own towards a parliamentary Government with political parties, the rule of law and the rights and freedoms of democratic political life.
He discussed the reforms and the Middle East peace process in separate talks with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, who praised Jordan’s positive role both in Palestinian State-building efforts and in supporting UN peacekeeping globally.