AMMAN: Jordan’s King Abdullah told French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday that ending Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza is an urgent necessity and warned there could otherwise be an “explosion” in the wider Middle East.
In a royal court statement, the monarch told Macron Israel should be pressured by global powers to stop its unrelenting bombing campaign in the Hamas-ruled Gaza and end its siege of the densely populated enclave of 2.3 million Palestinians.
Gaza’s health ministry said on Wednesday at least 6,546 Palestinians, including 2,704 children, have been killed by Israeli air strikes since a cross-border Hamas rampage into Israel in which 1,400 Israelis, mainly civilians, were killed.
Macron, who arrived in Amman after holding talks on Tuesday with Israeli and Palestinian leaders, discussed with Abdullah ways to end the conflict on the basis of a future Palestinian state co-existing with Israel, the statement said.
World powers say they back the “two-state solution” of Palestinian independence in Israeli-occupied territories, though US-brokered negotiations towards that end have been frozen for almost a decade with Israeli-Palestinian violence worsening.
“The continuation of the (Gaza) war will lead to an explosion of the situation in the region,” Abdullah was quoted as telling Macron, echoing worries among regional leaders the war could expand well beyond Gaza.
In Israel, Macron warned against the risks of a broader Middle East conflict and also said the fight against Hamas “must be without mercy but not without rules” - an allusion to civilian deaths and suffering in besieged Gaza.
The conflict has reawakened long-standing fears in Jordan, home to a large population of Palestinian refugees and their descendants, that a wider conflagration could prompt Israel to eject Palestinians en masse from the occupied West Bank. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 after a 38-year occupation.
“We are against any attempt by Israel to create an exodus of Palestinians or internally displace the inhabitants of Gaza,” King Abdullah said, according to the royal court statement.
Jordan, which borders the West Bank to the west, absorbed the bulk of Palestinians who fled or were driven out of their homes during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.