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, May 5, 2008

Bush and Abdullah Chew Over the Bones of Palestine

[Published July 2007]

US President George W. Bush held talks at the White House at a hastily arranged private dinner on Tuesday with Jordan's King Abdullah II to discuss major regional issues - with no joint public appearances afterwards.

Certainly their discussion over dinner would have included President Bush's intention - announced last week - to "call together an international meeting of representatives from nations that support a two state solution and that reject violence, recognize Israel's right to exist and commit to all previous agreements between the parties."

That two state solution involves the creation of a new Arab State in 6% of historic Palestine in addition to the existing Arab state of Jordan which occupies 77% of historic Palestine.

This proposed meeting is a vain attempt by President Bush to stave off acknowledging what should by now be patently obvious to him - the total collapse of his two state solution.

President Bush said the "key participants in this meeting will be the Israelis, the Palestinians and their neighbours in the region."

The Palestinians' mindset will be completely the opposite of the others attending the meeting since they have failed to:

1. reject violence - by still remaining committed to armed struggle as set out in the PLO Covenant, the Hamas Charter and the Fatah Constitution

2. recognise the State of Israel - by still retaining the clauses in all of the above documents that call for Israel's destruction and the liberation of every square inch of Palestine

Pussyfooting around this fundamental schism between Palestinian thinking and what the rest of the world would like to see happening in the West Bank and Gaza remains the stumbling block to the two state solution ever eventuating.

The PLO, Hamas and Fatah remain rejectionist, extremely violent and totally inflexible in changing their hard uncompromising stance against the Jewish State despite the billions of dollars in aid and diplomatic support lavished on the Palestinians by the international community.

It is time to dispel the notion that there is any difference between a Jordanian and a Palestinian and to finally accept that there should be only one Arab state - not two - in former Palestine.

In an interview published in the Khaleej Times on 11 October 2006, King Abdullah presciently declared:

"I really think that by the first half of 2007 we might wake up to reality and realise that the two- state solution is no longer attainable, and then what?"

King Abdullah has already made it clear that he is not prepared to consider a confederation between Jordan and the West Bank until an Arab state is created in the West Bank.

With that now very unlikely to occur we may well ask - then what?

Will history repeat itself and King Abdullah find himself in the same position as his late father, King Hussein, whose rule in Jordan was challenged by PLO leader Yasser Arafat in 1970 when thousands died in the ensuing battle and Arafat was forced to flee to Lebanon with his fellow terrorists? Mahmoud Abbas was at the centre of PLO decision making at that time and he still is so now.

King Abdullah is well aware of the words of the late Abu Iyad - one of the highest ranking members in the PLO :

"You cannot make distinctions between a Jordanian and a Palestinian….we indeed constitute one people. When the Palestinian State and unity is established… the Jordanian will be a Palestinian and the Palestinian a Jordanian" [Kuna - 15 December 1989]

This accords with the thinking of King Abdullah's own great-grandfather King Abdullah 1 expressed at a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on 12 April 1948 when he declared:

" Palestine and Transjordan [now Jordan - ed.] are one, for Palestine is the coastline and Transjordan the hinterland of the same country."

There are many more similar statements by Arab leaders acknowledging these basic facts.

Denials at various times of these historic, geographic and demographic truths by the late King Hussein were self serving as he faced threats to his rule when they were issued. They were more easily rebuffed then as the Palestinians had no power structures in Gaza or the West Bank.

However throwing the Palestinians a bone and not the whole carcass of former Palestine west of the Jordan River has failed to appease them or satisfy their hunger despite the best efforts of America, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - the Quartet - to convince them otherwise.

President Bush's planned meeting only postpones the curtain being finally pulled down on his two state solution.

Jordan cannot remain passively on the sidelines any longer without planning for this eventuality.

The issue of sovereignty in the West Bank cannot be allowed to fester because 77% of the carcass may be seen by the Palestinians as a more easier option to swallow than part of the 6% that has been offered to them and already rejected.

Jordan needs to return to the West Bank - which it occupied between 1948-1967- and do a deal with Israel. The sooner it takes the plunge the more favourable the conditions for this happening peacefully are likely to eventuate. The split between Hamas and Fatah has now made it a considerably more dangerous undertaking.

King Abdullah will need lots of diplomatic, financial and military support from the Quartet if he is to take this measure - which would reap the Quartet a far greater dividend than the same support currently being poured straight down the drain in propping up Mr. Abbas.

Hopefully neither the President nor the King suffered too much heartburn whilst chewing over the bones of Palestine.