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Abdullah: Iran hijacking conflict

Jordan’s King Abdullah II told Jewish leaders that he believed Iran was trying to “hijack” the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Abdullah met with the leaders of Jewish groups after addressing the U.S. Congress, where he repeated his message urging greater U.S. involvement in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and using the 2002 “Arab Plan” as a basis. In his meeting with the Jewish leaders, Abdullah acknowledged Israeli concerns about the Arab Plan, which implies a right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants, but said it should be seen as an attempt to reach out to Israel and not as a bottom line. He suggested peacemaking was urgent because of Iran’s ambitions in the region, noting its affiliations with terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. The king suggested that moving forward on the peace process would create broader common ground among the inner circle of moderate Arab states “including Jordan and Egypt” and businessmen in the Persian Gulf who fear Iran’s expansionist plans and who could invest in Israeli-Palestinian joint enterprises. Abdullah also favored responding to Syrian overtures for peace.