King Abdullah of Jordan told US President Donald Trump's adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday that a lasting Middle East peace can only come with the creation of a Palestinian state on land captured by Israel in a 1967 war and with East Jerusalem as its capital.
Mr Kushner is leading a US delegation to the Middle East this week seeking support for a late June workshop aimed at boosting investment for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, a White House official said on Tuesday.
A palace statement said the monarch, who aides say has been deeply concerned about the still-secret US plan to end the Arab-Israeli conflict, told Mr Kushner that Israel had to withdraw from West Bank areas captured from Jordanian control in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
"His Majesty stressed the need for a comprehensive and lasting peace based on a two-state solution, leading to an independent Palestinian state on 4 June 1967 lines with east Jerusalem as its capital, the palace statement said.
Jordan is worried the new US plan could jettison the two-state solution – the long-standing US and international formula that envisages an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.
Amman is also key to any future peace deal as the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
US officials have said Mr Kushner's trip, which began in Rabat and will include Jerusalem, was to bolster support for a June 25-26 conference in Bahrain, in which Mr Kushner is to unveil the first part of the long-awaited peace plan.
Touted by Mr Trump as the "deal of the century," the understanding at the moment is for the plan to encourage investment in the West Bank and Gaza Strip by Arab donor countries before grappling with thorny political issues at the heart of the conflict.
However, Palestinians have flatly rejected such a proposal, saying that they would not accept a proposal that sought to buy a peace deal with economic support.
Secretary General of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, Saeb Erekat, dismissed the proposal, saying “the Trump administration’s vision is being implemented on the ground with their decisions and positions on Jerusalem, settlements and refugees, among others”.
The US president has recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel to “take it off the table” in future peace talks and has also recognised Israeli annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights.
Mr Trump closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and stopped funding the UN agency that helps Palestinian refugees, slashing hundreds of millions of dollars in aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza and for Palestinians displaced across the region, and cut funding to hospitals in Jerusalem that serve Palestinians.
Outside the US embassy in Amman, activists gathered to protest Mr Kushner’s arrival and the deal of the century. Carrying placards and shouting slogans, hundreds protested for much of the evening.
MP Saleh Al Armouti, who attended the rally, reportedly said that the upcoming Bahrain workshop was a “conspiracy to close out the Palestinian cause.”