Jordan’s King: Trump is committed to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together

King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Trump held a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Wednesday. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)
King Abdullah II of Jordan and President Trump held a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House on Wednesday. (Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg)

Just before his first official White House meeting with President Trump on Wednesday, King Abdullah II of Jordan spoke to The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth about the key role he expects to play with the president in reviving the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. He also talked about the need for the United States to engage with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and perhaps make some concessions to solve the crisis in Syria. Excerpts follow:

Q. What would you like to come out of your meeting with President Trump?

A. The president, when I met him [in February], was very keen to solve the Israeli-Palestinian issue as quickly as possible. Now all of us have got to do the heavy lifting.

Q. When you met President Trump before, you told him that moving the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem would be disastrous in the region ?

A. I was asked about this, and my response was there is going to be a fallout if it is not part of something more comprehensive. The president said, “Look, I am very keen to move the Israelis and Palestinians forward and to find a peace process that actually works, and let’s all work on this together.”

Q. You also talked to President Trump about stopping settlements, right?

A. All I said was these issues do create animosity and difficulty — when I know that the priority of the president is to fight extremism and terrorism globally. These issues give ammunition to the Iranians, to [Islamic State leader Abu Bakr] al-Baghdadi and ISIS.

Q. Wasn’t it right after your conversation that Trump encouraged Israel to freeze settlements ?

A. I think people are giving me way too much credit. They are saying that I had something to do with it. I don’t know if I did. I just expressed my views.

Q. What do you think about the ban on immigration from certain Muslim countries that the administration is trying to impose?

A. I am not so much worried about foreign fighters coming into America, because you have a fairly robust system in place. . . . The danger is more the ideological battle. If Muslims in the Western community feel victimized, that is more dangerous, because lone-wolf attacks from homegrown terrorists are something we have seen recently in Britain and a couple of times in the United States.

Q. And you’ve had that in Jordan?

A. In 2016, for the first time, we captured and killed 40 ISIS terrorists in two major incidents. Ninety-six percent of them were of Palestinian origin. So if we don’t move the Israeli-Palestinian process forward, that is a major recruiting [opportunity] for disenfranchised and frustrated people.

Q. Do you engage with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu?

A. I have been in contact with Netanyahu. . . . Egypt and Jordan have a special relationship with Israel, and so if we don’t move forward, it puts more pressure on the Jordanians and the Egyptians.

[The point of] my visit here — and the American administration agrees with me — is that we have got to put this all together. If there are settlements, how does this affect the peace process? I think the major challenge that we have is: Are we for a two-state solution? I don’t see any alternative but the two-state solution.

Q. How do you see the situation in Syria? Is Raqqa [which the Islamic State claims as its capital] about to fall? And if so, what happens next?

A. I think Raqqa will fall. I think things are going well in Syria and Iraq in defeating terrorism. The only problem is [militants] are going to move down towards us [in Jordan], which is a challenge, but we are ready for it in coordination with the U.S. and the British.

But they are also going elsewhere — you see them shift to Libya, and, as we succeed in Libya, they will move down into the Chad Basin, and that is going to strengthen Boko Haram. If Boko Haram is strengthened, then that is going to affect al-Shabab. Many members of the U.S. administration get that, and I think you are seeing a new strategy. We can’t just focus on Syria and Iraq. We have to focus internationally — wherever these people are, we have to take the fight to them.

Regarding the chemical attacks we saw in Syria this week, we have the moral obligation as members of the international community to fight this horrendous tragedy that is befalling civilians in Syria.

Q. But the attacks on civilians in Syria were most likely caused by President Bashar al-Assad.

A. Yes. We have to have a unified policy on what is acceptable and what is not.

Q. Does that include getting rid of President Assad?

A. Getting rid of Assad is a discussion for [future] Geneva [talks]. The Astana talks [backed by Russia, Iran and Turkey] that we’re involved in are purely related to getting a military cease-fire. We all know that the Russians want [Assad] there longer than the rest of us do, but I don’t think the Russians are wed to Assad. Common sense dictates that somebody who is the figurehead of such bloodshed towards his people probably will move on.

Q. So you think that at forthcoming Geneva talks, the Russians will get rid of Assad?

A. I think they will barter on how Assad exits. At the end of the day, we need a regime that is accepted by all Syrian people.

Q. Do you want to see the U.S. engage with Russia over Syria?

A. I’ll tell you why that works: From the Russian point of view, they play what I describe as a three-dimensional chess game. To them, Crimea is important, Syria is important, Ukraine, and we see them in Libya. The Americans and Europeans must deal with the Russians on all these issues simultaneously.

Q. Once you understand these issues together, what do you do?

A. Then you horse-trade. For the Russians I think the most important thing is Crimea. If you come to an understanding on Crimea, I think you will see much more flexibility on Syria, and I think Ukraine then becomes the least problematic.

From Putin’s point of view, he has a major challenge with terrorism. ISIS international is heading towards Moscow. I think [the subway attack in] St. Petersburg is the start of foreign fighters moving to another battleground. Putin has to find a political solution sooner rather than later in Syria. If European countries have problems with foreign fighters, the Russians have 10 times more problems. They have all the terrorists from the Caucasus and have had two wars in Chechnya.

Q. What do you expect from President Putin?

A. A Russian-American dialogue will help. Otherwise, the Americans and Russians will fight it out in Syria and Libya. If you keep this tension going, the next problem will be in Moldova. . . . Russians are going to continue to shake the tree, unless we come to a meeting of minds.

Q. Is that a good solution for the West?

A. If we can solve Syria and come to a common understanding that is fair for the Syrian people, then yes. Crimea is Putin’s No. 1 issue, and I think that you say, “Let’s discuss Crimea, but when it comes to Syria, you have to move.”

Q. Is it true that Arab leaders are rejoicing because they feel that President Trump will be tougher on Iran than his predecessor?

A. Some countries do, some countries don’t.

Q. What is your view?

A. There are some strategic problems that Iran is involved in in our area. But here, again, is an opportunity: bringing Israel and the Arabs closer together. Because of the Iranian regime’s potential threat to the region, Israel wants to have a relationship with the Arabs. But the problem that is [standing] between the Arabs and the Israelis is the Palestinians. The whole point of our peace initiative is for us to be the guarantors of Israel’s security. If we can solve the Palestinian problem, then this is a new era of stability in our area, where Israelis are truly a part of the neighborhood.

Q. Are you worried when you look north that Iran will remain dominant in a post-Raqqa Syria?

A. There is an attempt to forge a geographic link between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah/Lebanon. I raised this with President Putin, who was fully aware of . . . Iran’s strategic intent to have power there.

Q. On your border, don’t you have Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps?

A. Yes, the Revolutionary Guard is about 70 kilometers away [in southern Syria]. If it is bad news for us, you have to put the Israeli equation into this.

Q. They must be very concerned. What will you do about it?

A. We were very explicit with the Russians, as were the Israelis, that nonstate actors from outside coming towards our border are not going to be tolerated. I think we came to an understanding with the Russians.

Q. Will Iran dominate Iraq in the future, if nothing changes?

A. We have had a hand in the reconciliation between all the Iraqis — Kurds, Sunnis and Shia. I will be meeting with Sunni, Shia and Kurdish leaders in the near future, so we can build the atmosphere of reconciliation.

Q. But right now it looks like Iran will dominate a future Iraq. Am I wrong?

A. It has tremendous influence in Baghdad. I think bringing the nationalists together who believe in Iraq . . . tends to level the balance more.

Q. But isn’t the growing influence of Iran a threat to the region? Isn’t Iran backing the Shia-led Houthi militias in Yemen?

A. Iran is there. Iran is also in east Africa and in Africa in general. They have been there for a while trying to dominate. That has been somewhat nipped in the bud. But unless we strengthen the African countries, then other players will come in and try to dictate their policies. So the U.S. is more engaged in Somalia and is strengthening its relationships with Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, because those are the critical countries fighting al-Shabab.

Q. What about U.S. aid to Jordan? Do you want to see it continued at its present level or increased?

A. We want to stop being a country that receives aid within the next four or five years. So increasing aid will allow us to increase growth and be able to wean ourselves off aid more quickly. We are going through a massive restructuring of the armed forces — we are coming down in size. We are shedding all our heavy equipment, because we can’t afford it. So support to the military is also important. With 20 percent of our country’s population being refugees, that puts an immense burden on our government. We are covering their health and education. The U.S. is our biggest supporter. We received $1.275 billion last year.

Q. What was your impression of President Trump?

A. He wants to engage and make a deal for Israelis and Palestinians. I was really struck by the commitment he had in bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together.

Q. What do you worry about the most?

A. My people and their economic situation.

Q. Unemployment is very high in Jordan, isn’t it?

A. There is a lot of unemployment, and that could lead to radicalization. That is what has kept me up for the past five or six years: the economy. Not the politics or the military or security situation. I am trying to grow the economy and look after my people.




33 responses to “Jordan’s King: Trump is committed to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians together”

  1. Niemals Avatar

    Dear King of Jordan: How many presidents have committed to bringing Israelis and Palestinians together? Israeli–Palestinian dialogue in Germany

    1. Hannibal Avatar

      The king of Jordan just hung up the phone and asked to meet you… He reads this blog regularly. LMAO

      1. Niemals Avatar

        The king of Jordan used his cellphone, his majesty is not so retard as YOU are…..

    2. Hannibal Avatar

      Here is a quiz for all… Identify the Israelis from the crowd.

      1. Niemals Avatar

        Do you mean the Arab Israelis or the Jewish Israelis?

        1. Hannibal Avatar

          I mean the Palestinians from the Arab Jews…

          1. Hannibal, you recognize Palestinians by their smell ???

          2. Hannibal Avatar

            That is really dumb as one cannot perceive smell from a photograph but it is easy to see a nose for instance. Have fun with that trivia 😉

          3. Hannibal – stupid one, the claim regarding the nose came from racist like you who claimed that Jews are semitic and semitic have a big nose
            guess you claim you are an semitic arab, so you share the same long nose… idiot.

          4. Hannibal Avatar

            I am no Arab… Sorry to disappoint you. Tall perfectly handsome Aryan blue eyes white (metel che2 el lefet (That my compatriot Lebanese would understand as a joke) True germanic blood not like that Niemals pretender who was transplanted there by the Romans.
            As if calling Palestinians smelly is no racism. You bas*tards scream foul only when it is convenient… Antisemite this and antisemite that, Old propaganda that no longer works on the modern world. Now go cry me a river on the wailing wall.

          5. Stupid Hannibal, the issue with the smell was a reaction to your racist comment “Identify the Israelis from the crowd”….. so you are a white supremacist Aryan, it explains your views…… but you are still an arab with the same culture, even if you escape as a coward to the US and play European……

          6. Hannibal Avatar

            So Jack,
            Is that your constant discourse? Insulting the individual? You must be a teenager. Notice I attack your views not you personally. Stupid this and stupid that. Like your parents called you stupid so now you call everyone stupid. I feel sorry for you really. Reacting with racist comments to racism makes you that racist. Although I was joking with Mek about cowardice you now carry it as a flag to wave in my face. It is OK. Eventually one will get bored with your constant demeaning to your fellow bloggers… speaking of which you have no constructive argument but shallow insults where you regurgitate your brain-washed propaganda. You have that URGE to demean others because of your “chosen” believes. You may need a consulto of therapists to clear your head from years of playing victims to justify your culture of stealing and usury and land grab.

          7. Hannibal, playing stupid, you insult yourself, what stands behind you stupid question:
            ” Identify the Israelis from the crowd.” ????
            I forgot you are an White Aryan proud supremacist, you belong to the superior german race ……. and playing Humanist who cares for the Palestinians Muslim, that you yourself say you don’t care if they all kill each other !.
            Pathetic racist

          8. Hannibal Avatar

            ouuuuuuh I am so insulted… NOT!

          9. Hannibal Avatar

            Games are being played on all sides and the poor pays the price. A thorough investigation MUST be done by the U.N. and if found the perpetrators must be brought to justice no matter who or where they are. Poor kid.

          10. HebAlba Avatar

            Of course but they say they have proof it’s Assad.
            “as Ghouta 2013” they repeat on CNN Fox & CO.

            Aug 6 was the day 70 Allawite villages were attacked in Latakia
            by FSA al Qaeda Ahrar el Sham etc..the massacres lasted 7 days.
            There was a HRW Report Dec. 2013. Women and children were kidnapped from their homes, pre-school children and babies still in of mothers were taken to Ghouta, belonged to pro-Assad families with fairer skin than Ghouta region population.
            Videos show no grieving parents.


          11. HebAlba Avatar


          12. Niemals Avatar

            Hannibal is not playing stupid, he is lacking intelligence and common sense.

            He does not want to follow suit simply because he will be exposed 😉
            He is demeaning everyone that is not on his wavelength as David Irving……

          13. Hannibal Avatar

            I am only demeaning to you N…

          14. Niemals Avatar

            In your dreams H….

          15. Niemals Avatar

            Sorry to disappoint you Hannibal the perfect Aryan….. with the true Germanic blood as Mats Hummels (Nationalmannschaft) or the handsome Thomas Müller….
            Check with Wikipedias definition of “Aryan” (/ˈɛəriən, ˈɛərjən, ˈær-/)[1] is a term meaning “noble” which was used as a self-designation by Indo-Iranian people. The word was used by the Indic people of the Vedic period in India as an ethnic label for themselves, as well as to refer to the noble class and geographic location known as Āryāvarta where Indo-Aryan culture was based.[2][3] The closely related Iranian people also used the term as an ethnic label for themselves in the Avesta scriptures, and the word forms the etymological source of the country Iran.[4][5][6][7] It was believed in the 19th century that it was also a self-designation used by all Proto-Indo-Europeans, a theory that has now been abandoned.[8] Scholars point out that, even in ancient times, the idea of being an “Aryan” was religious, cultural and linguistic, not racial.[9][10][11]

            Drawing on misinterpreted references in the Rig Veda by Western scholars in the 19th century, the term “Aryan” was adopted as a racial category through the work of Arthur de Gobineau, whose ideology of race was based on an idea of blonde northern European “Aryans” who had migrated across the world and founded all major civilizations, before being degraded through racial mixture with local populations. Through Houston Stewart Chamberlain, Gobineau’s ideas later influenced the Nazi racial ideology, which also saw “Aryan peoples” as innately superior to other putative racial groups.[12] The atrocities committed in the name of this racial aryanism caused the term to be abandoned by most academics; and, in present-day academia, the term “Aryan” has been replaced in most cases by the terms “Indo-Iranian” and “Aryan” is now mostly limited to its appearance in the term of the “Indo-Aryan languages”.[13]

          16. Hind Abyad Avatar
            Hind Abyad

            Missing you;-)

          17. HebAlba Avatar

            The rabbis want Eretz-Yisrael, naturally. Even if it means starting WWIII.
            I assume you’ll lobby for Israel to fight your own Jew War then. Hopefully you’ll be the first to join up.

          18. Niemals Avatar

            You must educate yourself, you must mean the Palestinian Jews from the Arab Jews.

            The difference is that the Palestinian Jew is the term used to refer to a Jewish inhabitant of Palestine prior to the establishment of the modern state of Israel.
            Arab Jews lived in Arab countries.

            In addition to applying to Jews who lived in Palestine during the British Mandate era, the term “Palestinian Jews” has also been applied to Jewish residents of Southern Syria, the southern part of the Ottoman province of Syria, and there are scholarly instances of referring to the Jews of the Palaestina Prima and Palaestina Secunda provinces of the Byzantine Empire in Late Antiquity as “Palestinian Jews”.

            After the establishment of Israel in 1948, the Jews of Mandatory Palestine became Israeli citizens, and the term “Palestinian Jews” has largely fallen into disuse, in favor of the term Israeli Jews.

          19. Hannibal Avatar

            Don’t you have an oven to heat up somewhere in a concentration camp? Last time around the germans finished up the jews and now the plan is to get rid of another seed of Abe… The immigrant muslims. Go get busy.

          20. Niemals Avatar

            Correction the Germans that committed the crimes where supporters of Nationalsozialisten, those germans that opposed the Naziregim has ended in KZ Buchenwald as early as 1937! The camp so-called “Schutzhaft” with the euphemistically formulated concept of “Schutzhaft”, during the period of National Socialism in Germany, opponents of the regime and other disaffected persons were imprisoned solely on the basis of an order, without being subject to judicial control, for example, by means of an arrest warrant.

            Initially this was done mainly by members of National Socialist organizations, such as the SA and the SS, later by the Gestapo, which also existed from SS members.

            The prisoners were detained, murdered, or murdered, in the detention centers, which were under the control of the National Socialist Party, and the concentration camps (initially called KL, later referred to as concentration camps). The two combustion ovens in the crematorium of the camp.

            Do you have something to add Hannibal (David Irving)?

          21. ‘We give’? I thought you said you were not Jewish (read: Zionist)? At least that’s what you said under another one of your username. Either way, …

            The first picture of your comment: Elie Wiesel the weasel used that photograph to make up his lies about his past in Nazi (alleged death) camps. The Americans loved his bs stories and swallowed them docilely.

            The second picture of your comment: What did they cook in there? Turkish Pide?

          22. HebAlba Avatar

            The usual idiots reunite; Niemals-Guest-Matrix and vs like.

            Yes, the Jews want their war. They just want the goyim to fight it for them. They will be happy to finance it though, at interest..

  2. One person was
    killed and several others were injured as a result of a missile strike
    by an unmanned aerial vehicle in the north of the Sinai Peninsula

  3. Don’t hold your breath folks

  4. The Jordanian midget-puppet will chant whatever his masters tell him to.

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