Top Jordanian Diplomat Rejects Possibility of Arab Troop Presence in Gaza
© AP Photo / Fatima ShbairPalestinians look at destruction after an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip in Khan Younis, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
© AP Photo / Fatima Shbair
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Middle East has recently been at the center of the world's attention due to the escalation of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. On October 27, Israel announced the extension of its ground operation in the Gaza Strip with the stated goal of destroying Hamas and rescuing hostages.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi rejected on Saturday the idea that Arab troops could enter the Gaza Strip to "clean up the mess" created by the Israeli invasion.
"Speaking on behalf of Jordan but having discussed this issue with almost all our brethren, there will be no Arab troops going to Gaza. None. We are not going to be seen as the enemy," Safadi said at a regional security forum underway in Bahrain.
Addressing the plenary of the forum in the Bahrain capital Manama, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Manama Dialogue, the Jordanian diplomat stressed that the destruction of Gaza had to stop before the international community could discuss its future.
"How can anyone talk about the future of Gaza when we do not known what kind of Gaza will be left once this aggression ends ... By entertaining that, we are telling the Israeli government: ‘Do whatever you want. Go destroy Gaza. No one is stopping you. And once you are done we will clean up your mess.’ No, we will not," Safadi said.
The minister argued that even countries that believed Israel was acting in self-defense were calling in vain for it to stay within the realm of international law.
"It’s not. So where do we go from here? Keep telling them to do it? They keep refusing to do it. What happens? People are being killed day in and day out," Safadi said.
He insisted that the very credibility of international law had fallen victim to its selective application in the Gaza war.
"If any other country in the world [did] a fragment of what Israel did, it would have sanctions imposed on it from every corner of the world," the Jordanian minister said.
He also criticized the Israeli military's goal of destroying the Palestinian group Hamas, saying Hamas was an idea born out of frustration in the enclave that had become an "open prison besieged from every direction."
"Hamas is an idea. You cannot bomb an idea out of existence. You are not happy with what Hamas is doing? Convince the Palestinian people that they have a future," Safadi explained.
He said the priorities were to stop the bloodshed in Gaza, let humanitarian aid into the enclave, and ultimately to achieve a two-state solution that would guarantee Palestinian statehood and address Israeli security concerns.
The Jordanian minister also vowed that Arab countries would do what was necessary to end the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank.
"The displacement of people is consistent with what sitting Israeli ministers have been saying for years … that the only way to move forward is to kick the Palestinians out of their ancestral land and wipe the Palestinians off the face of the earth," he said.
On October 7, Palestinian group Hamas launched a surprise large-scale rocket attack against Israel from the Gaza Strip and breached the border, killing and abducting people in neighboring Israeli communities. Israel launched retaliatory strikes and ordered a complete blockade of the Gaza Strip, cutting off supplies of water, food, and fuel. On October 27, Israel launched a large-scale ground incursion inside the Gaza Strip with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages. The conflict has resulted in the deaths of around 1,200 people in Israel and over 12,000 in the Gaza Strip.