ALGEMEINER - Jerold Auerbach
King Abdullah of Jordan is displaying discernible signs of panic over the future of his kingdom. Dismissing any notion that it might become an “alternative homeland” for Palestinians, he recently declared to high Jordanian officials:
“Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine and nothing but that, not in the past or the future.”According to Arutz Sheva (February 24), the Jordanian state news agency Petra reported that in a meeting with his parliamentary leaders the king warned of
“talk about the so-called alternative homeland” for Palestinians. “This, God willing, will be the last time we talk about this subject.”
There is, apparently, increasing apprehension in Amman lest Secretary of State Kerry’s proposed framework agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority might implicate Jordan. The king is worried that Jordan would be required to accept even more West Bank Palestinians than it already has (now comprising a majority of the population). He is hopeful that any peace agreement will include the transfer of Palestinians from Jordan to the new Palestinian state.
The first indication of concern was back in 2007 with the revocation of Jordanian citizenship of thousands of Palestinians, who were declared to be “stateless refugees.” (Imagine the international outcry if Israel acted similarly toward its own Palestinian citizens.) Further revealing of their precarious status in the Hashemite kingdom, some 340,000 Palestinians are still confined in Jordanian refugee camps.
The king has reason to be worried lest Jordan might become the State of Palestine. History reveals why. Back in 1920, when the League of Nations Mandate to govern Palestine was bestowed upon Great Britain, it cited “the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and the legitimacy of grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country.” Jews were granted the right of settlement throughout “Palestine,” comprising the land east and west of the Jordan River.
Great Britain, however, retained the right to “postpone” or “withhold” Jewish settlement east of the Jordan. Two years later, with the creation of Transjordan by the British to reward Prince Abdullah of Arabia for his wartime cooperation, Jewish settlement was restricted to the land – all of it – west of the Jordan. That right has never been rescinded. It includes Hebron no less than Tel Aviv.
So it is that Jordanian Palestinians are already at home, east of the Jordan River, which comprises two-thirds of Mandatory Palestine. Surely the resistance of Hashemite monarchs, backed by Bedouin tribes, should not be permitted by the international community to impede Palestinian statehood within the borders of their own national home according to international law.
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