As Peace Talks Stall Something's Got to Give

10/24/2010 01:50 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

"It is an illusion in the minds of the people who promote this option and for Jordan to accept this would be committing suicide..."

These words, spoken by King Abdullah, sent a strong message to the Israeli government, the Israeli people and the international community to immediately engage peace talks, which is clearly in the interest of all actors in the Middle East.

Israel must understand that the near-sighted Machiavellian mentality of keeping the upper hand in the Middle East at all costs no longer works and that the time will come when other powers emerge, putting world peace at stake.

A few days ago, officials indicated that the meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to achieve positive results in regards to Israel's settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly East Jerusalem.

During his visit to the states, Netanyahu said in a speech to AIPAC that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and that the Israeli government deals with any construction of new settlements in Jerusalem as construction in Tel Aviv, either ignoring or conveniently forgetting that the international community still considers East Jerusalem to be occupied territory as is clearly stated in various United Nations resolutions.

By this, 'Bibi' has flouted all international calls to halt settlement and at the same time is undermining all peace efforts, security and stability in the region -- pursuing political points while putting world peace at stake.

These unacceptable acts and policies of the Israeli "government," which are not supported by the majority of Israelis, according to various Israeli public opinion polls, have nearly destroyed all chances for peace, making it imperative for the Arab leaders who are now convening in the Libyan city of Sirt to take serious action.

King Abdullah Bin Al Hussein of Jordan, whose country is considered one of the main allies of the United States in the Middle East and the voice of moderation and reason in the region, during a meeting last week with a number of editors in chief of the Kingdom's major daily newspapers, gave remarks that were perceived by observers as the strongest in some time. In the meeting, he underlined that Israel's provocative actions will increase the sense of frustration among Arab citizens and push the region into a new cycle of violence, which will be reflected negatively on US interests in the region.

The King reiterated Jordan's repeated refusal to any political role in the West Bank, or the so-called "Jordanian option," under which the Kingdom would become the de-facto homeland of the Palestinians. It was a message not just to Israel and the international community, but to local and regional observers, pundits and politicians in Jordan and some Arab states. The Jordanian government has rejected Israeli calls for Jordan to play a political and security role in the West Bank to resolve the Palestinian issue in lieu of a peace process.

Through his statement, King Abdullah sent a message to Israel and the international community about his vision regarding the current situation and the ramifications of Israeli policies that aim to change the reality in Palestine. He was also clear that Palestinian political divisions contribute to the loss of the rights of the Palestinian people. If the Israeli government continues with its ignorance of the will of the international community, then the Arabs should reconsider their options and rearrange their cards such as supporting the one-state solution within the historical borders of Palestine.

In other words, Palestinians and Israelis will have to live side by side together in one democratic state enjoying the same rights. This option terrifies the Israeli government due to the fact that within few years the Palestinians will become the majority. If Israel maintains that it is the only democratic state in the Middle East, under this scenario, the Palestinians will control the government and the country's "Jewish identity" will disappear under the Palestinian demographic pressure.

The King of Jordan's warning was also reiterated upon by the official Jordanian delegation to the Arab summit in Libya, where Arab delegates have expressed concern over the decline of the American position on the Israeli settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories and called on President Obama to uphold the statute calling for a complete cessation of settlement policy in all occupied territories.

Amr Moussa, Secretary General of the Arab League, said in the summit's opening session that Arab countries should be prepared for a possible failure of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and to study alternative plans. Moussa's words only hinted at the frustration felt at the public and official levels.

Arab states must consider the possibility of complete failure of the peace process and the time has come to present Israel with alternative plans, a turning point in the conflict.

The hard-line Israeli government's rejection of all international efforts poses a serious threat to Western interests, particularly Americans, who have thousands of troops deployed in the region.

Hence, the international community must act quickly to put things in order before escalations spiral out of control and cost lives, which means a need for increased pressure on Bibi and his right-wing government.

Jordan should reconsider its options and approach the conflict in a way that secures the interest of its own citizens. Such options would include looking for other allies capable of supporting its political position and ensure stability for its people and the region.

The ongoing frustration in the Middle East will only embolden those who are against peace on both sides of the divide and will strengthen the cynical view that peace is nothing but an illusion. With extremism and violence on the horizon, the people of all nations in this region stand to be the biggest losers and pay the heaviest price.