Middle East ‘on the brink of abyss’: Jordanian king


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II brief the media after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 17, 2023.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, right, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II brief the media after a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, on Oct. 17, 2023.
| Photo Credit: AP

Jordanian King Abdullah II on Tuesday warned of a dire situation in the Middle East if the conflict between Israel and Hamas is allowed to spread to other countries.

“The whole region is on the brink of falling into the abyss,” Abdullah said after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin.

“All our efforts are needed to make sure we don't get there,” he said.

Gaza-based Hamas fighters broke through Israel's heavily fortified border on October 7, shooting, stabbing and burning to death more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians.

Israel has responded with devastating air strikes on Hamas-controlled Gaza that have killed at least 2,750 Palestinians, mostly civilians.

Israel is deploying tens of thousands of troops to the border in preparation for a full-scale ground offensive.

Israel has told some 1.1 million Gazans — nearly half the population of 2.4 million — to leave the north of the densely populated enclave, in anticipation of the operation.

Thousands have gathered at Gaza's Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the only one not controlled by Israel, in an effort to flee.

But the Jordanian king on Tuesday dampened hopes his country would accept Palestinian refugees from Gaza.

“On the issue of refugees coming to Jordan — and I think I can quite strongly speak on behalf not only of Jordan as a nation but of our friends in Egypt — that is a red line,” he said.

The escalating humanitarian crisis in Gaza “has to be dealt with inside Gaza and the West Bank”, he said.

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