Jordan to host summit between Biden and Egyptian and Palestinian leaders

By Suleiman Al-Khalidi

AMMAN (Reuters) -Jordan on Wednesday will host a four-party summit in Amman with U.S. President Joe Biden and Egyptian and Palestinian leaders to discuss the “dangerous” repercussions of the war in Gaza for the region, officials said.

The discussions would focus on ways to halt “the ongoing war in Gaza and ways to find a political horizon that would allow the revival of the peace process,” an official statement said.

Jordan’s King Abdullah will also separately hold a tripartite summit with both Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Officials said the monarch will stress to Biden on Wednesday that the country would resist any attempt to push Palestinian refugees into Jordan if conflict widens to the West Bank in a wider regional conflagration.

Jordan, which shares a border with the West Bank, is the country that has absorbed the bulk of the Palestinians who fled or were driven out of their former homes in the wake of Israel’s creation.

King Abdullah had earlier echoed similar warnings at the end of a European tour where he also lobbied for support to pressure Israel to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza without any pre-conditions.The monarch met army commanders shortly after his arrival in Amman later on Tuesday saying the kingdom would “protect its borders” against any attempt by Israel to expel Palestinians.

Already a large percentage of Jordan’s population is made up of Palestinians.

“The whole region is at the brink of falling into the abyss. The new cycle of death and destruction is pushing us towards it,” the monarch said in the toughest language so far since the conflict began after a devastating cross-border attack by Hamas.

“The threat of this war expanding is real,” he added.

Senior Jordanian officials voice fears that Israel could use the war with Hamas to achieve a policy of “transfer” to push Palestinians to Jordan they say some Israeli policy makers have long harboured.

“That is a red line… to try to create de facto issues on the ground,” the monarch said.

Amman, which lost the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to Israel during the 1967 Middle East war is also concerned about a potential spillover of violence inside the country.

They have deployed heavy security near the border to bar activists from holding protests.

Anti-Israel demonstrations have also been spreading across the country with some critical voices slamming the authorities’ perceived inaction, saying their brethren in Gaza are left to face Israel’s military might alone.

(Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Christina Fincher, Alex Richardson and Jonathan Oatis)