After a month of relative silence from the Arab world on Operation Protective Edge, Jordan has stepped forward in recent days to condemn and criticize Israel's actions in the Gaza Strip, with King Abdullah II on Sunday calling on the international community to "hold Israel accountable for what it has committed."
"The pain and suffering that we have been witnessing and living through during this aggression, which has indiscriminately taken the lives of innocent people, refutes Israel’s claims that the war is justified," Abdullah said in an interview with Jordanian newspaper Al Ghad.
Amman has been criticized for its failure to condemn Israel's actions publicly and strongly enough, but the Jordanian king claimed his government was instead working behind the scenes to find a solution.
"Jordan could have easily captured the headlines during the aggression, by issuing populist statements and slogans. Instead, we have been working diligently to end the Israeli offensive, alleviate the suffering and guarantee the flow of aid to our brothers and sisters in Gaza," he said.
Abdullah stressed that Israel was responsible for the hostilities in the Strip, and said the international community "bears the responsibility of ending an occupation, which is the last of its kind in modern history."
The Palestinian people's resistance, he said, was a cry for the entire world, "calling for an end to occupation, destruction and killing perpetrated against a people seeking freedom, security and dignity."
Over 15,000 supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood protested in Amman on Friday in support of Hamas, calling "Death to Israel." Protesters called on the Palestinian factions to increase the rocket fire at Israel. Many of them were wearing the uniforms of Hamas' military wing, the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and held a parade mocking the IDF, including torching a cardboard replicate of a military APC.
Pro-Hamas rally in Jordan (Photo: Reuters)
In his interview with Al Ghad, Abdullah said that out of the several confrontations between Israel and Hamas since the 2005 disengagement, this was "the bloodiest and most devastating in terms of casualties, especially among women, children and the elderly − entire families have been massacred."
"Our heart goes out to Gaza and its people. We share their tremendous pain and emotions," he said.
"At the same time, we have to look at what has happened, and continues to happen, rationally. It is innocent civilians − particularly in Gaza − who are paying the price, which is completely unacceptable from a moral and human standpoint."
King Abdullah threw his support behind the Egyptian ceasefire proposal and noted that it was "also important to recognize that the aggression on Gaza has exploited the vacuum resulting from the halt in final-status negotiations based on the two-state solution. Such a vacuum threatens to allow the violence to continue, escalate and reoccur, a matter that we have constantly warned against."
Jordanian King Abdullah meets with Palestinian President Abbas (Photo: Reuters)
"We also have stressed that Jordan − within the Hashemite custodianship over Muslim and Christian Holy sites in Jerusalem − will continue to stand firm against Israel’s unilateral policies and measures and will work to end repeated violations of Al Aqsa Mosque’s sanctity and attacks against worshipers," he added.
The king also stressed the two-state solution in the '67 lines was still the only solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"Peace is the only solution. Otherwise, we will be talking about a fifth, sixth and seventh war on Gaza, where the Palestinian people will be the victims and Israel will still be unable to guarantee its own security," he said.
"However, if the peace efforts fail, the international community as a whole would be responsible. More importantly, everyone will pay the price of failure, especially future generations, before whom we are accountable," he added.