King Abdullah of Jordan has obviously got a bad attack of the jitters as Israeli politicians now focus their attention on Jordan returning to re-occupy the heavily Arab populated areas of the West Bank - as Jordan had previously done so successfully between 1948-1967.
The hysteria emanating from Jordan at such a suggestion indicates that Israel’s politicians have touched a raw nerve that Jordan has long tried to gloss over - the fact that Jordan comprises 77% of former Palestine and has a pivotal role to play in the West Bank if there is ever to be any hope of peace between Arabs and Jews.
Sixteen years of negotiations since 1993 aimed at creating a new Arab state between Israel and Jordan in the West Bank have proved a total failure. Yet the delusion that such a State could ever be created continues to be perpetuated by a very carefully scripted and media managed performance by King Abdullah that has apparently seduced President Obama into believing he will be able to succeed where others before him have ignominiously failed.
President Obama will be in for a rude shock and end up in the same state of disbelief and disillusionment that befell his predecessors Presidents Carter, Clinton and Bush
Jordan’s Foreign Minister was concerned enough at the debate in the Knesset this week to summons Israel’s Ambassador and issue him with a strong protest:
“on a motion on a so-called two states for two peoples on the two banks of the Jordan River”
His concern might be well justified if he were reacting to the following statement made by Lebanese writer Farid Salman on OTV on 6 May 2009 as reported by Middle East Media Research Institute:
“Jordan is an invention. Transjordan, which was an emirate, and later became the Hashemite Kingdom, is part of Palestine. Britain created it in order to crown one of the sons of Hussein,from the Arabian Peninsula, over part of Greater Syria - over Palestine. This continues to be the perpetual reason… Without removing it, the Palestinian issue will not be resolved. It’s impossible.”
Farid Salman’s statement contains within it the call for the overthrow and removal of King Abdullah and an end to Hashemite rule.
President Jimmy Carter was moved to point out as long ago as 11 October 1982 in Time that Jordan as a nation was
“a contrivance arbitrarily devised by a few strokes of the pen.”
Again one could argue that Carter would not have been sorry to see Jordan’s Hashemite rulers disappear and the country be renamed Palestine.
However the current furor in Jordan over this week’s debate in the Knesset is an over reaction by a nervous Hashemite regime that sees the sword of Damocles hanging over the Hashemites every time someone mentions the origins and history of Jordan.
Jordan’s response has been topped by a remarkable outburst by Israel’s President Shimon Peres who has called the idea of two states for two peoples a
“baseless hallucination”(Haartez 27 May)
The proposal that Jordan step in to fill the void left by the collapse of the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is sound and represents the only alternative option now open to be pursued in trying to end the conflict between Jews and Arabs that has continued for the last 120 years.
There have been countless statements made by Arab leaders attesting to the fact that Jordan forms part of Palestine and that there is no distinction between a Palestinian and a Jordanian.
Abu Iyad was able to tell the Near East Report on 8 January 1990:
“When the Palestinian State and unity is established the Jordanian will be a Palestinian and the Palestinian a Jordanian”
Even Yasser Arafat was moved to admit in Der Spiegel in 1986:
“Indeed Palestinians and Jordanians are one people. No one can divide us”
It is clearly in Israel’s national interest that Jordan’s entry into the West Bank not result in the Hashemite regime being replaced by a rogue leadership. Jordan would have to be given security guarantees by Israel to prevent any such eventuality happening, which given the peace treaty between Israel and Jordan would surely be forthcoming.
A massive injection of international funds flowing to Jordan to enable the rehabilitation of the West Bank and advance the interests of the Arabs living there would revitalise the area and offer hope for real peace and co-operation between Jews and Arabs who would continue to live where they are without having to move or sell up.
The creation of Jordan may have been an invention or a contrivance but it exists as fact today and has survived to become the homeland of the Arabs of former Palestine. Extending its borders to embrace the heavily populated Arab areas of the West Bank is the master key to separating Jews and Arabs and removing the barriers and roadblocks that currently impede normal communication and contact between the Arab residents of the West Bank. Extending Jordanian citizenship will give them the right of self determination they have long sought to obtain.
The creation of the Palestinian Authority was another invention or contrivance that proved to be a total failure and now needs to be consigned to the dustbin of history. Jordan is a success story and the Hashemites are entitled to take full credit for what has been achieved since independence was granted in 1946.
The creation of a new Arab state between Jordan and Israel in the West Bank would be another invention or contrivance with no basis to support it historically, geographically or demographically. Rather than advance the cause of peace it would represent a threat to the continued existence of both Israel and Jordan.
King Abdullah might not relish being thrown into the spotlight. However he better get used to it.
Jordan’s role in resolving the conflict won’t go away.