19:57 GMT06 August 2020
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    Already strained relations between Israel and Jordan, one of the two Arab nations that maintain official diplomatic ties with the Jewish State, risk deteriorating further amid the looming Israeli take-over of a third of the West Bank.

    Jordan’s King Abdullah II has turned down attempts by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak over the phone, Palestinian agency Maan News reports, citing an unnamed Jordanian official.

    King Abdullah has also refused to set a specific date for a future meeting with Netanyahu’s coalition partner, Benny Gantz, who is making overtures to coordinate Israel’s plans regarding the West Bank, according to the report.

    The Jordanian royal said he would not accept the unilateral action by Israel and warned last month that it would trigger a “massive” confrontation with Jordan. He stopped short of outlining any specific steps, but said Jordan was “considering all options.”

    Netanyahu has secured Gantz’s backing to apply Israeli sovereignty to 30 percent of the West Bank, including all Jewish settlements and the Jordan Valley bordering on the kingdom, starting from 1 July.

    The move, one of Netanyahu’s key campaign promises, is bolstered by the Trump administration. The Palestinian Authority, the United Nations, Russia, and the European Union have all spoken out against annexation, warning that it would trigger a new wave of violence in the region and effectively kill the two-state solution.

    Jordan is one of only two Arab countries who maintain official diplomatic relations with Israel, the other being Egypt.

    Israel has been discreetly normalising its ties with Gulf States, such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE, but its next step in the West Bank is likely to lead to a setback.

    “Annexation would – certainly and immediately – upend all Israeli aspirations for improved security, economic and cultural ties with the Arab world and the UAE,” the Emirati ambassador to the US, Yousef al-Otaib, warned last week.

    Tags:
    annexation, Palestinians, Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, Abdullah II, Jordan
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