Jordan’s King Abdullah II has rejected any plans by Israel to occupy parts of Gaza or to create security zones within the enclave, saying the root cause of the crisis was Israel’s denial of Palestinians’ legitimate rights, state media reported on Monday.
The king, who spoke to senior politicians at the royal palace, said there could be “no military or security solution” to the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, and that war-ravaged Gaza should not be severed by Israel from the other Palestinian territories.
He said the “root of the crisis was Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories and its denial of Palestinians legitimate rights”. He added: “The solution starts from there and any other path is doomed to failure and more of a cycle of violence and destruction”.
Abdullah also warned that Israeli violations in the West Bank, where Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian civilians have surged since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel, could “expand the conflict” and push the region “to the abyss”.
Jordan is home to a large population of Palestinian refugees and their descendants who fear Israel could expel Palestinians en masse from the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Jordan also has a peace treaty with Israel and shares a border with the West Bank.
The king said he had long called for an “immediate end to the war on Gaza”, urgent humanitarian aid, the rejection of displacement of Palestinian people and a lasting resolution “on the basis of the two-state solution”.
He said he was “outraged and grieved” by the Israeli bombardment of Gaza, which he described as “cruel and unconscionable” and a “war crime”. He said: “All civilian lives matter. Israel is literally starving civilians in Gaza, but for decades, Palestinians have been starved of hope, of freedom, and a future”.
He also criticized the “global silence” and the lack of accountability for Israel in previous conflicts. He said: “The message the Arab world is hearing is loud and clear: Palestinian lives matter less than Israeli ones. Our lives matter less than other lives”.
He urged the international community to restart a meaningful political process that can lead to a just and sustainable peace based on the two-state solution, which envisages an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel.
He said: “The only path to a safe and secure future for the people of the Middle East and the entire world – for the Jewish people, for Christians, for Muslims alike – starts with the belief that every human life is of equal value and it ends with two states, Palestine and Israel, sharing land and peace from the river to the sea”.
The king’s remarks came as Israel’s military continued its offensive in Gaza, which has killed more than 12,000 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and wounded more than 20,000 others, according to Gaza health officials. Israel says it has lost 67 soldiers and three civilians in the conflict.
Israel says its ground forces entered the Strip in late October and quickly encircled the north’s main settlement Gaza City, where it claims that Hamas fighters have an underground headquarters in tunnels beneath al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in the city. Hamas denies the allegation and says the hospital is a civilian facility that provides vital health services to the besieged population.
Israel has told civilians to leave and medics to send patients elsewhere, but it was unclear where they would go. Several hospitals and clinics in Gaza have been forced to shut down, while others are already working at full capacity with dwindling supplies. Meanwhile, Israeli forces have surrounded the facility and prevented ambulances from entering or leaving.
The UN Security Council has failed to agree on a resolution to end the violence, as the US, Israel’s main ally, has blocked several attempts to issue a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire. The US says it is working behind the scenes to broker a truce, but has also reiterated its support for Israel’s right to defend itself.