Jordan says Israel-UAE deal should prod Israel to accept Palestinian state

AMMAN (Reuters) - Jordan said that the deal announced on Thursday between Israel and the United Arab Emirates could push forward stalled peace negotiations if it succeeds in prodding Israel to accept a Palestinian state on land that Israel had occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.

“If Israel dealt with it as an incentive to end occupation ... it will move the region towards a just peace,” Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in a statement on state media.

Israel’s failure to do this would only deepen the decades long Arab-Israeli conflict and threaten the security of the region as a whole, Safadi said.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, however, rejected the accord. Spokesman Abu Rudeineh, reading from a statement outside Abbas’s headquarters in Ramallah in the West Bank, said it was a “betrayal of Jerusalem, Al-Aqsa (mosque, Islam’s third-holiest shrine) and the Palestinian cause”.

Safadi said the agreement must be followed by Israel ending any unilateral moves to annex territory in the occupied West Bank that “obstruct peace prospects and violate Palestinian rights”.

“The region is at a crossroads...continued occupation and denial of the Palestinian peoples’ legitimate rights won’t bring peace or security,” Safadi added.

Jordan lost the West Bank including East Jerusalem to Israel during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Jordan is the second Arab country after Egypt to sign a peace treaty with Israel and many of its more than 8 million citizens are of Palestinian origin.

Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi; editing by Leslie Adler and Grant McCool