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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 August 2006, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Jordanian king 'enraged by war'
By Dale Gavlak
BBC News, Amman

King Abdullah of Jordan
King Abdullah said moderate voices were at risk of being drowned out
King Abdullah of Jordan has publicly criticised the United States and Israel over the fighting in Lebanon.

He told Jordanian newspapers he was enraged by the war, and that continued fighting only weakened the voice of Middle East moderates such as himself.

He argued Israel's attempt to destroy the militant Hezbollah group would not solve problems in the region.

He stressed the only way to achieve peace was to end the Israeli occupation of Arab lands.

Core issue

The king's condemnation of peace partner Israel and his American ally was firm.

He told Jordan's Arabic mass circulation Al-Rai and independent Al-Ghad dailies that the US and Israel should acknowledge that war would not bring anything but more problems, violence and extremism to the Middle East.

Israeli troops at the border waiting a mission
Israeli actions are fuelling the resistance, the king says

King Abdullah said that even if Israel destroyed Hezbollah, other groups would emerge in the Arab world to take its place, unless Israel ended its occupation of Palestinian lands and made peace with other Arab neighbours.

He called this the core issue that needed to be resolved.

He also said there would be no solution in Lebanon without an agreement with the Lebanese government. He repeated his call for an immediate ceasefire, saying Israel's aggression exceeded all limits.

Popular support

The Jordanian monarch blamed Israel's harsh military campaign in Lebanon for undermining the voice of moderation in the Arab world, saying the Arab people now saw Hezbollah as the hero because it was fighting Israel's aggression.

He argued that the US and Israel had to realise that as long as there was aggression, there would be resistance and popular support for this resistance.

He said moderation had to accomplish something for people to believe in - otherwise, they would have no other choice but to reject it and embrace other means to defend their rights.

Although the king initially voiced criticism over Hezbollah's abduction of two Israeli soldiers last month, he refused to comment as to whether he still blamed the Iranian-backed group for dragging Lebanon into the conflict.

King Abdullah added Jordan would not participate in a proposed stabilisation force to be deployed in southern Lebanon as a buffer between Israel and Hezbollah militants.

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