Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922

Mandate for Palestine - July 24, 1922
Jordan is 77% of former Palestine - Israel, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza comprise 23%.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Resubdividing Palestine

[Published November 2004]

Yasser Arafat has finally joined Yitzchak Rabin in the next world.

Freed now from all pressures, internal and external, perhaps they might be able to frankly reflect on the mistakes they both made in trying to reach the "Peace of the Brave" for which they and last surviving member of the trio, Shimon Peres received the Nobel Peace Prize.

Perhaps their conversation would go something like this:

Yitzchak: Welcome to our eternal home Yasser. I always thought that the way to peace between the Jews and the Arabs was the resubdivision of Palestine into two States with Jewish Israel being sovereign in about 20% of Palestine and Arab Jordan sovereign in about 80% of Palestine. Shimon persuaded me to pursue a different path by accepting Oslo. In hindsight this was a terrible error of judgement by me and cost me my life, the lives of thousands of Jews and Arabs and the maiming, wounding and emotional scarring of our respective populations.

Yasser: Look Yitzchak, I know you weren't happy with Oslo. I felt it in that famous handshake at the White House. I was aware of your comment in The Australian newspaper on May 27, 1985 that "One tiny State between Israel and Jordan will solve nothing. It will be a time bomb." Oslo would have created just such a State.

Yitzchak: And after the collapse of Oslo, 9/11, your refusal of Barak's offer, the second Intifada and what's happening now in Iraq, I think my prediction is still relevant today. The Quartet are making a big mistake pursuing this failed policy after your death. They supposedly respect my memory but not my opinions. They know I also said at that time that "the Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the Jordan River there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees."

Yasser: On June 25, 1987 I myself told the New York Review of Books that before the Second World War "Jordan was an emirate, completely part of Palestine." I know my history as well as you, my dear partner in peace. We both agreed that Jordan was part of Palestine, part of the problem and part of the solution.

Yitzchak: We really should have built on this common agreement when we finally decided to talk about peace.

Yasser: You obviously were aware that I had also told Der Spiegel in 1986 that "Jordanians and Palestinians are indeed one people. No one can divide us. We have the same fate."

Yitzchak: Sure. Even Jordan recognised the historic and demographic reality of what you were saying. As early as Spring 1982 Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan was quoted in the Foreign Affairs Review as endorsing the words of a leading Jordanian social scientist that "the Jordanians and Palestinians are now one people, and no political loyalty, however strong, will separate them permanently.

Yasser: And Farouk Kadoumi, the Head of the Political Department of the PLO, told Newsweek on 14 March 1977 that "Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people." Farouk stood by my wife Suha during my dying days in hospital in France.

Yitzchak: So why did you insist on separate Palestinian and Jordanian delegations at the Madrid Conference in 1991 instead of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation?

Yasser: Come on Yitzchak. You know there had been a power struggle between King Hussein and myself for control of Jordan. Could I ever forget or forgive how my followers and I were driven out of Jordan in September 1970 and the slaughter that was inflicted on us at that time? Do you think it was fun being shunted to Lebanon and thence to Tunisia?

Yitzchak: But surely you could have resolved your dispute with King Hussein. Jordan would have had King Hussein as its monarch and you as its Prime Minister. By burying your differences you could have ended up as Prime Minister of 80% of Palestine instead of President of nothing. Your funeral would have been a vastly different ceremony to what I saw today.

Yasser: That's all water under the bridge. Now that I have been removed from the scene is there perhaps something we can do to influence those left behind down there to resubdivide Palestine along the lines you suggested 19 years ago?

Yitzchak: Well I know Shimon is just as aware as you and I are of Jordan's role in bringing peace to the region. Shimon told the Jewish Telegraph on April 19, 1991 that "It is not obstinacy to regard the populations of Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza as having greater similarities than differences. The Jordan River is not deep enough to turn into a knife blade serving to cut one piece of territory into three slices. Most of Jordan's population are Palestinians: the residents of the West Bank are Jordanian citizens and Jordan has distributed tens of thousands of passports to residents in the Gaza Strip. Jordan is therefore an existing State. It has an army. There is therefore no need to set up another State, another army."

Yasser: True, but Shimon is not at this moment in the Israeli Government. It will need the concurrence of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to make these views Israeli policy.

Yitzchak: That shouldn't be difficult. Ariel told Time on April 17, 1989, that "Jordan is Palestine! The capital of Palestine is Amman. If Palestinian Arabs want to find their political expression, they will have to do it in Amman." Couple those thoughts with his Disengagement Plan for Gaza and the building of a security fence in the West Bank, which has effectively divided the region into Jewish and Arab sections, and you have the basis for calling an international conference whose object is to resubdivide Palestine along the lines I first suggested in 1985.

Yasser: That's all fine, but what about my beloved Jerusalem? Can I ever hope that my mortal remains will be reburied there?

Yitzchak: Yes. It is possible. East Jerusalem was part of Jordan between 1948-1967 and would have been so today had King Hussein kept out of the six day War. The Holy Places are specifically to be dealt with in the Peace Treaty I signed with King Hussein in 1994. We can't solve all the problems from here. Those on earth are charged with negotiating the final outcomes. Now is a propitious time for them to attempt to do so.

Yasser: How can we get the Quartet to abandon their plans to continue pursuing the impossible? Visions have a habit of turning into the worst nightmares.

Yitzchak: The Quartet should heed the above things we said whilst on earth, but which we unfortunately failed to try to put into practice. This will be the finest tribute they can pay to our memories and will merit the Nobel Prize that we were in truth prematurely awarded. This will be the real peace of the brave. Pressure must be put on Jordan to resubdivide Palestine, the same kind of pressure that is being put on Israel to accept the badly flawed and thoroughly discredited Road Map. Then perhaps the peace we all desire will be attainable.

Yasser: Shalom Yitzchak

Yitzchak: Salaam Yasser.


peter said...

Brilliantly put together article. Should be compulsory reading for all politicians seeking to resolve the Middle East mess.

sharon said...

How prophetic. I can't believe this article was written in 2004. How many Israelis and Palestinians would be still alive today if the Quartet had adopted this vision instead of their two state solution?