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June 18, 2020 2:06 pm

Jordan’s King Abdullah Lobbies Top US Lawmakers Against West Bank Annexation by Israel

avatar by Benjamin Kerstein

King of Jordan Abdullah II addresses the European Parliament, in Strasbourg, France, Jan. 15, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Vincent Kessler.

Jordan’s king held a series of meetings with leading members of the US Congress on Wednesday, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, during which he expressed intense opposition to Israeli annexation of any part of the West Bank.

According to a statement issued by the Royal Hashemite Court of Jordan, King Abdullah II told American lawmakers that unilateral West Bank annexation by Israel was “unacceptable and undermines the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the Middle East.”

In addition, Abdullah emphasized Jordan’s commitment to a two-state solution and “a comprehensive and just peace” — calling for the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines with East Jerusalem as its capital.

Israel’s Channel 13 reported Thursday that it was told by Palestinian sources that Jordan was stepping up its international campaign against annexation and was doing so “in coordination with the leadership of the Palestinian Authority.”

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will pursue annexation starting on July 1, but the extent of the territory to be annexed remains uncertain.

Maximalists in the government want to annex the 30% of the West Bank allotted to Israel in US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan, while Netanyahu’s main coalition partner, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, is said to be leaning toward favoring only a “symbolic” annexation of several settlement blocs near Jerusalem.

On Wednesday, Netanyahu reportedly presented Gantz and Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi — No. 1 and No. 2 in the centrist Blue and White party — with a list of annexation options. Neither man has formulated an official stance on the issue yet.

The Trump administration is said to oppose annexation without a consensus in the Israeli government.

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