Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Sunday warned US Secretary of State Antony Blinken of “catastrophic” consequences if the Mideast war continues, as the White House scrambles to stave off a widening conflict.
“His Majesty King Abdullah, during a meeting on Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, warned of the catastrophic ramifications of the continued war on Gaza, stressing the need to end the tragic humanitarian crisis in the Strip,” the Royal Court said after their meeting.
Abdullah II pressured Blinken to push for a cease-fire in the three-month-long hot war between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Blinken has embarked on a roughly weeklong trip to the Middle East in a diplomatic effort to try to ease increasing tensions in the region.
Abdullah II contended that there won’t be “stability in the region without a just solution to the Palestinian issue and just and comprehensive peace on the basis of the two-state solution.”
He also unequivocally rejected any push to displace Palestinians in the Gaza Strip or West Bank — something Israeli President Isaac Herzog already strenuously ruled out in an interview Sunday.
“Absolutely, absolutely not,” Herzog told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday about Palestinian displacement. “Totally not agreed or is not the position of the Israeli government, or the Israeli parliament, or the Israeli public.
“I’m saying outright, officially and unequivocally: This is not the Israeli position.”
After Blinken’s meeting with Abdullah II, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller touched on the displacement concern.
“The Secretary thanked King Abdullah II for Jordan’s role and leadership in providing life-saving aid to Palestinian civilians in Gaza,” Miller said in a statement.
“The Secretary also stressed U.S. opposition to forcible displacement of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza and the critical need to protect Palestinian civilians in the West Bank from extremist settler violence.”
Last year, Blinken publicly lamanted that “far too many Palestinians have been killed” in the bloody war.
Jordan, which neighbors Israel, has long voiced unease over the war. Its monarch has also assailed Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.
After his trip to Jordan, Blinken was due in Qatar to meet with Emir Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, as well as Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani on Sunday.
Blinken’s trek to the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean comes amid mounting fears in the Biden administration that a second front could erupt over Israel’s growing friction with the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
Days after Hamas’ deadly Oct. 7 surprise attack on Israel, President Biden talked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu out of a preemptive strike on Hezbollah, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Still, the threat of an expanded conflict lingers.
Hezbollah is a Shiite Muslim group that doubles as a political party in Lebanon and a militant force. It is designated a terrorist organization by both the US and a slew of countries.
Israeli and Hezbollah forces have exchanged blows over recent days, including Saturday, when the group took credit for launching rockets into Israel.
Dozens of rockets are believed to have blasted into Israel. This comes in apparent retaliation after the group accused Israel of killing Hamas leader Saleh Arouri in Beirut days earlier.
Israel has estimated Hezbollah has a stockpile of nearly 150,000 precision-guided missiles — rendering it a more formidable military force than Hamas, according to the Associated Press.
Hezbollah and Israel have a history of war.
Since the war between Israel and Hamas erupted in October, well over 1,200 Israelis have been killed. More than 240 people also were taken hostage by Hamas. Roughly half of whom have since been freed.
The Hamas-linked Health Ministry of Gaza claims that at least 22,835 Palestinians have been slain in the fighting.