Jordan will not become complicit in another expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Wednesday.
The Hashemite kingdom is doing all it can to stop the conflict but will treat any attempt to displace Palestinians as “a declaration of war,” Safadi vowed, as quoted by the Roya News outlet.
Amman will not allow “a new catastrophe” nor will it let Israel “shift the crisis created and exacerbated by the occupation to neighboring countries,” he added.
Catastrophe, or ‘Nakba’, is how the Palestinians refer to their 1948 exodus from territories claimed by Israel. Jordan ended up annexing the West Bank while Egypt took control of Gaza, but Israel seized both territories in 1967. Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, establishing an “administrative boundary” between the kingdom and the West Bank, without prejudicing the territory’s future status.
Displacing the Palestinians from Gaza to another country would be a war crime, Safadi said, accusing Israel of already engaging in war crimes against the Palestinians there.
“There is no justification for what Israel is doing in Gaza,” the Jordanian foreign minister said. “We demand for the war to be stopped, to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza Strip and to protect civilians.”
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government declared war on Gaza after October 7, when Hamas launched hundreds of rockets at Israel and sent militants into nearby Jewish villages. Over 1,300 Israelis were killed in the incursion, according to the government in West Jerusalem.
Israel has since demanded that all civilians leave Gaza City and the northern part of the territory, in order to allow the Israel Defense Force to target Hamas. Palestinians in Gaza have said they have nowhere to go, as Israel blockades them from the sea and Egypt has refused to open the border.
The government in Cairo has argued that admitting Palestinians would amount to helping Israel engage in “ethnic cleansing,” in which they want no part. Egypt has offered to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, but Israel has opposed that on grounds that some of it might end up in the hands of Hamas.
“All indications suggest that the worst is yet to come and that Tel Aviv is heading towards a ground invasion,” Safad said on Wednesday.