Egypt, Jordan voice ‘full support’ for Palestinians, slam Israel

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Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah on Monday affirmed their “full support” for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and urged Israel to fulfill its obligations in accordance with international law to honor all agreements signed with the Palestinians.

Finding a suitable solution to the Palestinian cause and achieving a just and comprehensive peace is a “strategic option and a regional and international requirement,” the three leaders said in a joint communique after the tripartite summit in the Egyptian city of El Alamein.

The summit was held amid ongoing talk about a possible normalization deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. In their communique, Sisi, Abdullah, and Abbas did not make any direct reference to reports about US efforts to broker a deal between Jerusalem and Riyadh. They stressed their “adherence” to the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, however, which stipulates that the Arab states would normalize their relations with Israel only after a full Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital.

In the past, the Palestinian leadership accused the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan of violating the terms of the Arab Peace Initiative by reaching separate normalization agreements with Israel.

Saudi Arabia’s moves amid rumors of normalization with Israel

Last weekend, Saudi Arabia said it had named its ambassador to Jordan, Nayef al-Sudairi, as “Ambassador Extraordinary to the State of Palestine and Consul-General in Jerusalem.”

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greets Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before the start of the 29th Arab Summit in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia April 15, 2018 (credit: HAMAD I MOHAMMED/REUTERS)

Some Palestinians are convinced that the move is linked to US efforts to broker a deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia. They view the appointment of the envoy as part of a Saudi attempt to placate the Palestinians ahead of a normalization agreement with Israel.

At Monday’s summit, Sisi, Abdullah, and Abbas lashed out at Israel over its policies and measures against the Palestinians.

In their statement, the three leaders called on Israel to halt military incursions into Palestinian cities in the West Bank, saying it was undermining the ability of the PA government and security forces to carry out their duties.

They urged Israel to release Palestinian tax revenues it had seized because of payments made by the PA to security prisoners and the families of those killed while carrying out attacks against Israelis.

The three leaders condemned “the ongoing and escalating Israeli illegal practices” against the Palestinians and warned that Israel’s actions were “undermining the two-state solution and instigating violence and chaos.”

They called for halting Israeli settlement activities and emphasized the necessity of ending settler “terrorism.”

They also denounced Israel for “violating the legal and historical status quo in Jerusalem and its holy sites” and demanded an end to the “storming” of al-Aqsa Mosque, a reference to visits by Jews to the Temple Mount.

According to the communique, Sisi and Abbas emphasized the importance of the Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s holy sites, including the Haram al-Sharif/Noble Sanctuary (Temple Mount).

Israel, the Palestinians, and several Arab countries recognize Jordan’s role in administering the holy sites.

In recent years, however, unconfirmed reports in Israeli and Arab media outlets said the Saudis were also seeking a role in administering the Islamic sites in Jerusalem, a move that would end Jordan’s exclusive and historical status in the city.

Read More: Egypt, Jordan voice ‘full support’ for Palestinians, slam Israel

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