Jordan’s FM warns against annexation on West Bank visit

File - In this Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020 file photo, a Palestinian demonstrator holds national flag in front of Israeli forces as they protest against President Donald Trump's Mideast initiative, in Jordan Valley in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex the valley and all of Israel's far-flung West Bank settlements, in line with President Donald Trump's Middle East plan, which overwhelmingly favors Israel and has been rejected by the Palestinians. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed, File)
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Jordan’s foreign minister made an unannounced visit to the West Bank on Thursday during which he warned against any Israeli annexation of occupied territory, saying it would “kill” hopes for a two-state solution with the Palestinians.

Both Jordan and the Palestinians strongly object to Israel’s plans to annex around 30% of the West Bank in line with President Donald Trump’s Middle East plan, and are seeking to rally international opposition to such a move.

“Annexation is unprecedented for the peace process, and it will kill the two-state solution and will destroy all the foundations of the peace process,” Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said after meeting with his Palestinian counterpart in the city of Ramallah.

It would “deprive all peoples of the region of their right to live in security, peace and stability,” he added.

Safadi also met with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The visit came a day after a senior Emirati official warned that Israel’s planned annexation could lead Arab states to call for a single bi-national state for Israelis and Palestinians, rather than a two-state solution, which is still widely seen as the only way to resolve the conflict.

Backed by a friendly Trump administration, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex Jewish settlements in the West Bank and the strategically important Jordan Valley. Such a unilateral move would all but dash Palestinian hopes of establishing a viable independent state.

Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war and has built dozens of settlements that are now home to nearly 500,000 Israelis. The Palestinians seek the territory as the heartland of their future state. Most of the international community considers Israel’s West Bank settlements illegal under international law.

Jordan, which is one of just two Arab nations to have made peace with Israel, has been particularly alarmed. It borders Israel to the east and is home to a large Palestinian population.

This week, Jordan’s King Abdullah II expressed his concerns to American leadership, warning that any unilateral Israeli measure in the West Bank would be unacceptable and “undermine the prospects of achieving peace and stability in the region,” according to a statement from his royal court.

On Thursday, the king spoke with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, who also expressed opposition to any unilateral Israeli annexation of territory.

In a statement carried by Bahrain’s state media, the monarch reiterated the tiny Gulf country’s support for the Arab consensus against such an “illegal” move.