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King Abdullah II

King Abdullah wants to raise the level of relations between Israel and the Arab world, first with Jordan itself, and he’s willing to explore all possible avenues. In a Special Interview With The Israeli Reporter For Channel 2 News, Ehud Ya’ari, Who Was Invited By The Jordanians To Amman, King Abdullah Says: 'We Need to Talk to Each Other. Any Problem, How Difficult It May Be, Can Be Solved With Dialogue'

King Abdullah: His late majesty King Hussein, and I believe late Prime Minister Mr. Yitzhak Rabin, he always used to say that we want peace for our children and childrens children, well he's talking about us. We don't want to be around ten years from now saying that we want peace for our children, We want peace for ourselves. and as I said earlier in this interview, the true peace is not to the borders of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria or Egypt, I think Israel's future is in the Middle East, and at the same time a future for the Palestinians. Those are the prizes, and the only way we'll be able to achieve that is to move the peace process along.

We need to talk to each other. Any problem, how difficult it may be, can be solved with dialogue. Before President Arafat and Prime Minister Barak went to Camp David, refugees, Jerusalem, many issues were considered taboo. Nobody thought that they will ever be able to speak about those. They went to Camp David, the subjects were open, and there has been some thoughts, Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs have thought on how to solve these problems. So if we just reach out for each other and understand that we have to realize what the other side's fears are, these problems can be solved.

What we'd like to achieve in 2005 is more coordination between Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians, and from that comes a lot of the bilateral projects. I think that the intension is there from all sides and lets move with these projects because at the end of the day they will have a positive impact on poverty and unimployement.

I was surprised after the Beirut conference that it realy didn't have an impact on Israeli society, so maybe we have to explain more what was the offer from all the Arab countries towards Israel and we hope that in Algeria you'll get Beirut plus, in the arab summit, a stronger commitment, and to the point of reaching out to Israelis and saying what is it about the Arab initiative that you find difficult, let us work on that.

There are two groups of prisoners, one large group of prisoners that don't have blood on their hands and there's others that do, and the smaller group is something that needs to be discussed and agreed upon between both goverments. My feeling is that there is the right intent from your goverment and with discussions i hope that we'll be able to come to some amiable soultion on this particular problem.

Ehud Ya'ari: Do you think it is a mistake for Syria not to pull out completely from Lebanon?

King Abdullah: Well again, I think it's still early days, I voiced my opinion and my concurns to president Bashar Assad when he visited us several weeks ago, and I think the seriousness of the situation that Syria faces in the international community, I believe he understands the gravity of the situation and I'm hoping that we will get a positive response form him. What we don't want is an escalation of the problem, Syria has a lot of issues with the international community that is putting a lot of pressure on the Syrian goverment. We can only pass our views of how we see the world and how we see Syria's situation and we hope that the Syrians will tackle these issues in a manner that we're all hoping that they will do so.

Ehud Ya'ari: I cannot avoid looking around your private office here, it's full of these little tanks, what are you going to do with them?

King Abdullah: Well, I spent most of my career in the armoured forces and I created a design in military workshops so I'm still, as a hobby, very keen in weapons design and vehicle design, this is a little hobby, I build these vehicles just to clear my mind on the weekends.

Ehud Ya'ari: Does it help?

King Abdullah: It does help because you forget everything when you're concentrating on something like that.

David Essing

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