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Jordan's King Says World Must Act to End Mideast Violence

Jordan's King Abdullah says there is hope for peace in the Middle East but only if the international community acts to end the violence in the region. The Jordanian monarch is urging the European Union to play a bigger role in ending the Middle East crisis.

King Abdullah, addressing the European Parliament in the French city in Strasbourg Wednesday, says the failure to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is encouraging extremism in the Middle East.

He says the 21-month-old conflict increases frustration among people who are tired of war, occupation and economic deprivation.

But the Jordanian king says Israelis and Palestinians are unable to resolve their differences on their own and need international support to find a solution.

"The fact is that given present conditions, neither Israelis nor Palestinians are capable of taking the steps needed to reach a reasonable and final compromise," he said. "We must not allow the process to become hostage to the whims of those who choose to obstruct peace."

King Abdullah called on the European Union to take a leadership role in the so-called peace process. He says a coalition of the EU, the United States, Russia and Arab countries is needed to provide both Israelis and Palestinians with economic and political support as well as security.

The Jordanian monarch called on Israel to accept the land-for-peace proposal made by Saudi Arabia's crown prince Abdullah earlier this year. That plan calls for Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for the Jewish state's withdrawal from Arab land it occupied after the 1967 Six Day War and recognition of East Jerusalem as the capitol of a Palestinian state.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says his country cannot risk withdrawing from all occupied Arab land. But King Abdullah insists that a time frame needs to be set up for both the withdrawal of forces from the Israeli occupied territories and for the declaration of a Palestinian state.

The monarch's call for a bigger European role in finding a solution to the conflict will find no support in Israel. The Israelis have always suspected the EU of being pro-Palestinian and have preferred to use the United States as their channel for peace talks with the Palestinians.