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(LifeSiteNews) — In a joint statement with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, King Abdullah of Jordan has warned of “significant consequences” if the cycle of violence in Israel is not broken.
Following calls for Arab-Israeli cooperation to bring peace, and alarm over the rising likelihood of a wider war, the king then announced that his nation – and that of Egypt – would refuse to accept Palestinian refugees.
When asked whether the Kingdom of Jordan would be opening its borders, he said, “I think I can quite strongly speak on behalf of not only Jordan as a nation but of our friends in Egypt: that is a red line.”
See below statements to the press by His Majesty King Abdullah II following a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin:
Why would the king of Jordan who says “one-third” of his population are “refugees,” and where 2 million Palestinian refugees already live – refuse to accept more?
In the full press conference, available here, the king went on to explain his position. He described the mass migration of refugees as a means of transferring abroad the Palestinians and the problem they represent: “[B]ecause I think that is the plan by certain of the usual suspects to try and create de facto issues on the ground.”
He insisted there would be “no refugees.”
“No refugees in Jordan. No refugees in Egypt. This is a situation of humanitarian dimension that has to be dealt inside of Gaza and the West Bank – and not to try and push the Palestinian challenge and their future onto other people’s shoulders.”
King Abdullah of Jordan clearly believes that the acceptance of the remaining population of the Palestinian territories would be seen as desirable by “certain suspects,” meaning Israel.
He stressed the need to defuse tensions and to work immediately to halt the killing of civilians and avoid a wider conflict: “It is imperative to work on deescalation as quickly as possible and to be able to protect the innocent civilians all sides of this conflict.”
Noting the dangerous tensions in the region, he said “the threat of this war expanding is real. The cost of this war is too much to bear.”
The king was careful to point out that both sides must halt their violence, stressing that moral values must be equally applied and recognized.
“We condemn the killing of civilians on both sides,” he said. “Our moral compass has to encompass all to be moral.”
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Why not Egypt?
Whilst the king of Jordan objects to serving the aims of “the usual suspects” in removing the Palestinians abroad as refugees, his reasoning will also be informed by the fact that Jordan hosts the third-largest number of refugees of any country in the world, behind Turkey and Iran.
Over 3 million refugees live there at present, including 660,000 Syrians and over 2 million Palestinians.
Egypt by comparison hosts 300,000 refugees, mainly from Africa and Yemen. Yet there is a significant reason why it would refuse to open its border with Gaza to the Palestinians.
Hamas, the terror group and governing party of Gaza, is inspired by the ideas of the violent Muslim Brotherhood. This Islamist ideology originated in Egypt and was popularized by an Egyptian Sunni Muslim, Sayyid Qutb. He argued that modern Islam and the modern Western world were decadent and therefore legitimate targets for jihad.
Israel has long been facing the reality of these and other Islamist organizations wanting to completely destroy Israel, kill all of its citizens, and be unwilling to negotiate in good faith to reach the two-state solution recommended by the United Nations.
The ideology of Islamism
Islamism is the ideology that calls for the establishment of Islamic religious rule by force, if necessary. This includes force against non-Islamist Muslims as well as wider acts of violence against non-Muslims.
Why does the Muslim Brotherhood matter? Mohamed Morsi was briefly President of Egypt between 2012 and 2013. He was sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideology of religious violence.
He was deposed in a military coup by the man who is now Abdel Fattah El-Sisi of Egypt.
The influence of Hamas, with its Islamist ideology inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood, is unwelcome in Egypt. This explains why the door will not open to the Palestinians, and there will be no refugees in Egypt from Gaza.
A wider influence
Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain, together with the United Arab Emirates, are broadly allied in opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood and its ideology. It is an issue which divides the Arab and wider Islamic world. These nations have sought to isolate the tiny but immensely wealthy gulf state of Qatar for its support of Islamism and related militias.
On the opposing side of this “Arab Cold War” are nations which routinely refer to Israel as “The Zionist Entity,” including Qatar, Iran, and Pakistan. NATO member Turkey leans towards Islamism in a departure from its earlier secularism.
Saudi Arabian attempts to isolate Qatar, dating from 2002, broadly showed how the region divides between nations supportive of or opposed to Islamism and its imperative to violence.
That this conflict may unite factions divided by profound ideological and religious enmities shows its potential for sudden and catastrophic escalation.
Lebanon, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Yemen, and Kuwait are among 21 nations which have never recognized the state of Israel. Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman have all broken relations with Israel over past conflicts in Palestine, and Iran has had no diplomatic relations with Israel since 1979.
Mass protests in anger have erupted in Lebanon, Jordan, Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, and Iran. The pressure on Arab and Muslim states to act against Israel is mounting. The exchange of fire on the northern border with Lebanon represents the potential for a second, much more dangerous war front opening for Israel.
Iranian-backed Hizb’Allah have a reported 150,000 modern missiles with which to respond. The threat to Israel is real. It is surrounded by nations whose people are calling for vengeance, and whose ideologies reject the right of the State of Israel to exist.
This is an existential moment, not only for Israel and the Palestinians, but for humanity itself. We are moving dangerously close to a future where war crimes and terrorism consume all of our lives. The price of peace is the recognition of grievance and the right to a homeland for all.
The moral compass must include all in its ambit, but it must always point towards life.
See my Middle East Explainer for more in-depth analysis of the region.
Pledge your prayers and fasting for peace in the Holy Land HERE