Jordan Daily – His Majesty King Abdullah on Wednesday participated in a one-on-one panel with Al-Monitor President Andrew Parasiliti at the Middle East Global Summit, held by Al-Monitor and Semafor media organisations, and attended by international political and media figures.
The conversation, attended by Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah and Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II and Prince Hashem bin Abdullah II, covered the latest developments in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Jordan’s efforts towards peace and regional integration, as well as pressure on the Kingdom due to hosting refugees and the developments in Syria.
Responding to a question on the possibility of moving forward with the peace process, King Abdullah said there are “two elephants in the room”.
“One is Palestinian transition and the future for the younger generation of leaders,” His Majesty said, noting that “part of the challenge is we Jordanians, Arabs, Israelis, Americans do not know who the younger generation of Palestinians are” and it is important to be able to reach out to these young voices.
The second elephant in the room is where is Israel going and “how can we have an understanding of a political horizon”, the King said.
His Majesty reiterated the importance of investing in regional projects to break down barriers, benefit all sides, and pave the way towards working for peace.
Commenting on US efforts to pursue peace between Saudi Arabia and Israel, the King said such a step “brings us through a new horizon”, but “part of the challenge is with the Israeli government. This belief, and by some in the region, that you can parachute over Palestine, deal with the Arabs, and work your way back. That does not work.”
“There is something that Saudi Arabia wants, there’s something that the Israelis want, there’s something that the Americans want; what you have to add to that component is what do the Palestinians get out of it? And actually, what does the region get out of it, because we’re all invested in this together,” His Majesty said.
The King called for looking at the bigger picture and not thinking tactically.
His Majesty also discussed the dwindling international attention and support for the refugee crisis, warning that “this is a problem that’s going to come back and haunt all of us”, due to instability in south Syria.
The King highlighted Jordan’s efforts to provide health and education services to refugees, as well as opportunities for employment, noting that “we’re getting nothing compared to what we as a government are trying to put into support”.
“That can only get worse with the challenges that we have in the region, if we have another wave of refugees,” His Majesty warned.
Turning to Jordan’s efforts to bolster regional cooperation, the King spoke about the trilateral framework with Egypt and Iraq, and the opportunities for regional projects in water and energy conveyance, railroad infrastructure, and logistical bases to benefit the three countries and the entire region.
His Majesty concluded the conversation by noting the vast opportunities in the region, stressing that the potential for economic prosperity is what breaks down borders “because at the end of the day, most people will vote for peace, if they can put food on the table for them, for their loved ones”.