Meretz, Jordan's prince discuss peace talks, regional issues
Prince Hassan Bin Talal met Gal-On, Meretz delegation; claims US errs in narrow, bilateral perspective on talks, which he claims are connected to wider regional issues. Gal-On reiterates promise to support PM if talks yield results
AMMAN – A delegation from Meretz met with Jordan's prince Hassan Bin Talal Wednesday and heard a scathing critique of the US-sponsored peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.


Prince El Hassan bin Talal is the nephew of King Hussein and uncle of King Abdullah II, the current ruler of Jordan. He was the Jordanian heir apparent until Abdullah II was crowned as king.


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A Meretz party delegation headed by party chairwomen Zehava Gal-On met with the prince in his official residence in Amman. Among the delegates were Dror Morag, the director-general of Meretz, and Ilan Baruch, a former ambassador and Gal-On's diplomatic advisor.


During the meeting, Prince Hassan told Gal-On that the Mideast is posed with an impossible conjunction of three, that is that the bilateral relations between Israel and the Palestinians is not the root problem of the region, but rather the wider regional challenges pertaining to Jordan, Israel, the Palestinians and the relations between the three.


Gal-On (L), Hassan, Baruch, Gilad (Photo: Meretz Spokesperson)
Gal-On (L), Hassan, Baruch, Gilad (Photo: Meretz Spokesperson)


The prince commented on the renewed bid to launch peace talks and claimed that they the talks were being conducted from a very narrow perspective that fails to take into account regional issues.


"There is a need to create a plan B to the negotiations, which would take into account issues pertaining to people, beyond the six central issues known to everyone, while also taking into account a regional perspective."


During the meeting Gal-On told the Jordanian prince: "A month ago I spoke with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and told him that despite the fact that Meretz is in the opposition, it will not be an opposition to peace and we'll back him in the Knesset."


She noted that "Netanyahu does not have the coalition's support in this regard, but that in the Knesset there is a two-thirds majority for peace. If he achieves anything, he'll have parliamentary support."


Nonetheless, she added that "it is up to Netanyahu. I'm uncertain in this regard because I think that deep inside he is still committed to the idea of a Greater Israel."


Gal-On expressed optimism at American involvement in negotiations as well as from the EU's decision to ban contracts pertaining to settlements. However, Prince Hassan criticized the US' involvement in the area, which according to him stems from a very narrow perspective on the conflict and from American economic interests. He further reiterated that he believed the conflict was not confined just to Israel and the Palestinians but rather to larger regional issues.


The Meretz chairwoman told Ynet at the end of the session that the meeting was held as part of a regional dialogue that the party was promoting together with Mideast leaders.


Wednesday, in Jerusalem, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's special envoy attorney Itzhak Molcho met with the Palestinians' chief negotiator Saeb Erekat and Mohammed Ishtyeh. The talks will also take place in Jericho.



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