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Occupation is the source of all evils — FM

Safadi tells CNN peace cannot be built on crushing peoples’ aspirations

By JT - May 16,2018 - Last updated at May 16,2018

Ayman Safadi

AMMAN — Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi has said ending the Israeli occupation and restoring the rights of Palestinians is the only path to peace.

He told CNN’s Becky Anderson in an interview on Tuesday (the transcript of which was e-mailed to The Jordan Times by the Foreign Ministry) that Jordan is committed to doing everything it can to bring about a comprehensive and lasting peace and would be working with the US, the Europeans and others in the international community to bring about that peace. 

“However,” he said, “We have to recognise that the source of all evils is occupation. You cannot build peace on crushing peoples’ rightful aspirations; you cannot build peace on blood and you cannot build peace on violence. ... We believe any peace deal should address the Palestinian right to freedom and independence, a Palestinian state on the basis of the June 4th, 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as the capital, living in peace and security with an Israel that is recognised and accepted by the whole Arab and Muslim world. 

“There is a reality, a very terrible reality, an unacceptable reality, which is occupation. I think we will be finding ourselves, unfortunately, moving towards more violence. And let me just reaffirm that violence is born out of despair, and is born out of denying the Palestinian people their right,” the minister told the network.

Commenting on the massacre of Palestinians in Gaza at the hands of Israeli forces on Monday, the top diplomat said that bloody Israeli reaction was “uncalled for, unnecessary, unjustified, illegal, inhumane ... aggression against innocent civilians protesting against occupation. What we saw yesterday is a sign of things that are going to deteriorate unless we are able to recapture the moment and move effectively towards ending occupation and fulfilling the Palestinian people right to freedom and statehood on their land”.

Responding to a question on why the relocation of the US embassy to Jerusalem provoked such protests, the official said that “Jerusalem is an extremely emotive subject. It is sacred to Muslims, Christians and to Jews, and that is why it has always been a final status issue that international law says needs to be resolved through negotiations on the basis of international law, which recognises that East Jerusalem is an occupied city, that should become the capital of an independent state”. 

“To come and determine the future of Jerusalem outside the context of a broader peace plan that would bring the comprehensive peace that we all seek, is something that sends the wrong message about our collective commitment as an international community to end the occupation and bring justice to the Palestinians and fulfill their basic human rights to freedom and independence,” he said.

Anderson asked that if “nobody wants a continuation of this cycle, foreign minister. If the Palestinians won’t talk to the US because they say the US is no longer an honest broker, I do wonder where thing go from here. And what can Egypt and Jordan, crucial regional actors, and other Arab states including Saudi Arabia, do to help deliver both parties back to the negotiating table at this point”.

In response, Safadi said that Amman’s commitment to peace is “unwavering”, adding that Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries “have been working and are willing to continue to work with the US and with others to bring about a peaceful solution to this conflict... [but] if things continue to go the way they have gone yesterday — on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Nakba, the greatest injustice of modern times — instead of sending a message of peace, they [Israelis] are sending soldiers to shoot at innocent civilians, we’re not going to get anywhere. What we need to do is for all of us to get together and realise that the two-state solution is the only way forward, and move forward”.

Safadi stressed that Palestinians will eventually come to back to the negotiating table when constructive ideas are presented assuring all that the trajectory is moving towards a lasting peace on the basis of the two-state solution. 

“As far as Jerusalem is concerned,” he said, “East Jerusalem is an occupied territory; it should be a symbol of peace and in order for it to be a symbol of peace, occupation has to end and oppression has to go away from the streets, alleys and neighbourhoods of the city. 

“Jordan, as you know has been working to push the message of peace forward; His Majesty is the Custodian of Christian and Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, and he has repeatedly said that Jerusalem is the key to peace, and Jerusalem should be addressed within a broader solution that would bring about a two-state solution which, again, is the only way to make sure that we end this conflict that has taken so many lives and has caused so much suffering and that will continue to deteriorate unless we’re able to reach political horizon and tell the Palestinians that they have a future and they can ultimately live like any other people on Earth, in freedom, with dignity, without oppression and without occupation haunting their days and nights”.

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