The Jordanian foreign minister made an unannounced visit to the West Bank on Thursday to “convey a message” to the Palestinian president, against the backdrop of Israel’s plans to annex parts of the territory.
Both Jordan and the Palestinians strongly object to the Israeli plan and have been lobbying against it. The Jordanian foreign ministry says Ayman al-Safadi’s visit to Ramallah “comes within the framework of continuous coordination and consultation” between them on the issue.
It come a day after a senior Emirati official warned that Israel’s planned annexation could lead Arab states to call for a single bi-national state for Israelis and Palestinians, rather than their traditional call for a two-state solution.
Backed by a friendly Trump administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the strategically important Jordan Valley. Such a unilateral move would all but dash Palestinian hopes of establishing a viable independent state.
Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and has built dozens of settlements that are now home to nearly 500,000 Israelis. The Palestinians seek the territory as the heartland of their future state. Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal under international law.
Jordan, which is one of just two Arab nations to have made peace with Israel, has been particularly alarmed. It borders Israel to the east and is home to a large Palestinian population.
This week, Jordan’s King Abdullah II expressed his concerns to American leadership, warning that any unilateral Israeli measure in the West Bank would be unacceptable and “undermine the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region,” according to a statement from his royal court.