German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Jordan's King Abdullah II at a press conference, at the Chancellery in Berlin on October 17, 2023. Image Credit: REUTERS

BERLIN: Jordanian King Abdullah II on Tuesday warned of a dire situation in the Middle East if the conflict between Israel and Hamas is allowed to spread to other countries.

“The whole region is on the brink of falling into the abyss,” Abdullah said after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

“All our efforts are needed to make sure we don’t get there,” he said.

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Scholz, who will travel to Israel later on Tuesday, also warned against an escalation.

“We have a common goal to prevent a conflagration in the region,” said Scholz.

He will be the first head of government to visit Israel since Hamas launched the bloodiest attack in Israel’s 75-year history last week.

“I once again expressly warn Hezbollah and Iran not to intervene in this conflict,” he said.

Israel is deploying tens of thousands of troops to the border in preparation for a full-scale ground offensive.

Israel has told some 1.1 million Gazans - nearly half the population of 2.4 million - to leave the north of the densely populated enclave, in anticipation of the operation.

Thousands have gathered at Gaza’s Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the only one not controlled by Israel, in an effort to flee.

But the Jordanian king on Tuesday dampened hopes his country would accept Palestinian refugees from Gaza.

“On the issue of refugees coming to Jordan - and I think I can quite strongly speak on behalf not only of Jordan as a nation but of our friends in Egypt - that is a red line,” he said.

The escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza “has to be dealt with inside Gaza and the West Bank”, he said.