Jan 22,2018 – JORDAN TIMES EDITORIAL
His Majesty King Abdullah could not be clearer when he told visiting US Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday in Amman that Jerusalem must be the capital of the projected Palestinian state notwithstanding President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel against his advice, and in contravention of international law and UN resolutions.
“For us,” said the King to Pence, “Jerusalem is precious to Muslims and Christians, as it is to Jews, and key to region’s peace and stability.” During his talks with the US vice president, the King reaffirmed his deep and unwavering conviction that the two-state solution for the Palestinian conflict is and remains the only viable solution and that all efforts should be directed in that direction.
Vice President Pence’s response that Washington accepts the two-state solution provided that the two sides agree to it does not really go far enough. If things are left to Israeli whims, there is no way that the two-state solution can see the light of day.
Pence may have wanted to soften the blow of President Trump’s position on Jerusalem by saying that the final boundaries presumably of Jerusalem and the Palestinian state should be negotiated as final status issues. Such explanations do not go far enough to allay the concerns of the Palestinians, not by a long shot!
With regard to the Muslim and Christian holy shrines in East Jerusalem, the King was equally firm and forthright when he said that the Hashemite custodianship of these holy sites in East Jerusalem is paramount and long standing.
Pence did respond in kind when he confirmed that the US recognises the status quo in East Jerusalem, including the Hashemites’ undisputed role in protecting them from encroachments or threats.
On the bright side of the talks between the King and the US vice president, the two leaders made it a point to recognise and pay tribute to the longstanding strategic ties that bind the two countries. Pence highlighted the role of Jordan in promoting regional security and peace for which the US is grateful.
Pence’s reassuring words about the good bilateral relations between Amman and Washington meant that US commitments to Jordan’s security and stability, not to mention its economic and financial wellbeing, are also overriding goals for the Trump administration.
Good allies sometimes differ on even critical policy issues, but they soon recover and continue their path of solidarity and cooperation. This is what could be happening between Amman and Washington.