Jordan's King Abdullah warns Gaza conflict leaves region 'on brink of the abyss'

King warns conflict could widen as he holds talks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

Jordanian king warns of Gaza war expansion

Jordanian king warns of Gaza war expansion
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The conflict in Gaza leaves the whole region in danger of “falling into the abyss”, Jordan’s King Abdullah II said on a visit to Germany on Tuesday.

After talks with Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin, the king said the “extremely tragic and dangerous situation” in Gaza would “get much worse unless we stop this war and the human catastrophe it is creating”.

The king told a press conference that the “threat of this war expanding is real” as Mr Scholz warned Iran and Hezbollah against intervening in the war between Israel and Hamas.

The cost that any wider conflict “will bring on all of us is too much to bear” and “all our efforts are needed to make sure we don’t get there”, King Abdullah said amid concerns about a new wave of Palestinian refugees.

“The whole region is at the brink of falling into the abyss that this new cycle of death and destruction is pushing us towards,” he said.

Jordan’s head of state is visiting Germany as part of a diplomatic push that has seen him hold talks with Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni in recent days. Mr Scholz was due to set off for Israel immediately after the meeting with King Abdullah.

The king ruled out taking in refugees from the conflict, saying this was a “red line” for Jordan and Egypt. More than two million displaced Palestinians already live in Jordan, according to the UN, and Israel's military has ordered much of Gaza's population to relocate before an expected ground invasion.

King Abdullah said the humanitarian crisis should be dealt with inside Gaza rather than “pushing the Palestinian challenge and their future on to other people’s shoulders”.

He said a lack of food, water and electricity for people in Gaza was “unacceptable on all levels” as he called for the world to condemn the killing of civilians “on both sides”.

“It is imperative to work on de-escalation as quickly as possible and to be able to protect the innocent civilians on all sides of this conflict,” he said.

“We cannot continue this cycle of violence every single year. Unless there is a political horizon that brings Israelis and Palestinians together that then allows Israelis and Arabs to come together, this will continue to be a cycle of violence that none of us can afford.”

Mr Scholz said Israel could count on Germany’s support as he prepared to travel to Tel Aviv and Egypt. He was expected to hold talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah El Sisi.

Saying Germany and Jordan had a “common goal” of preventing a “wildfire” in the region, he said he “expressly warned Hezbollah and Iran not to intervene in the conflict”.

The German leader said it was “important to differentiate” between the Palestinian people and the Hamas leadership, which he said had “no right to speak for them”.

“The Palestinian people in Gaza – they too are victims of Hamas,’ he said.

Updated: October 17, 2023, 2:15 PM