Palestinian refugees in his country amid Arab fears that Israel's
withdrawal from the Gaza Strip may not extend to the West Bank.
Abdullah is concerned that if Israel fails to leave the West Bank,
which Palestinians want as part of a future state, Jordan may be
pressed to settle tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees living in
camps scattered across the region, including Syria and Lebanon.
"I know and do appreciate the fears of some of you that plans may
exist to redraw the map of the region and to settle some historic
issues at the expense of Jordan," Abdullah told an impromptu meeting
with members of parliament, Cabinet and former prime ministers before
he left for Russia.
"We are talking about the issue of resettlement and an alternative
(Jordanian) homeland," he said.
Jordan already hosts 1.8 million Palestinian refugees and their
descendants displaced in two wars with Israel since 1948.
The government argues that accepting more refugees may disturb this
country's fragile economy and its demographic balance.
Abdullah's remarks appeared aimed at Jordanians, who become increasingly
suspicious about Israel peace intentions.
Speculation is rife in Jordan and other Arab capitals that Israel,
which has begun withdrawing Jewish settlers from the Gaza Strip, may
stop at offering any more territory to the Palestinians in the future.
Abdullah urged Jordanians to confront any plan aiming to "deprive
Palestinians of their right to return to their homeland or establish
their independent state on Palestinian soil, and nowhere else."
"If such a plan exists, it is a plot against the Palestinian people
as much as it is a plot against Jordan," he said. "I should not be
alone in confronting such a plot, if it exists."
On Monday, Abdullah told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas in a
telephone call that the Gaza withdrawal was a "positive step and must
be a starting point for pulling out of the West Bank.