In retrospect, it was but for an extended blink of the eye that Jordanian and Egyptian forces ruled, respectively, the West Bank and Gaza in from 1948-49 until their expulsion by Israeli forces in 1967. Amman annexed the West Bank in 1950 but finally in 1988 gave up its claim to this land. Cairo never did claim Gaza. For decades now, it has appeared that their presence in those two regions was an accident of history and that Palestinian nationalism had permanently replaced it.
Well, not quite. As the Israeli government gives up on the Palestinians keeping things quiet in the West Bank and Gaza, it is turning to – guess who? – the Jordanians and Egyptians to fill in.
- "West Bank plan eyes Jordanians on patrol": Joshua Mitnick reported in the Washington Times on July 5, 2005 that "Palestinian security chiefs and Jordanian officials are discussing sending a unit of the Jordanian military to the West Bank to boost stability after Israel's withdrawal." The troops in question would be approximately 1,500 soldiers of the Badr Brigade, which is composed of Jordanian citizens of Palestinian origin. They would most likely be deployed near Jenin. The Palestinian Authority claims they would be under its authority.
- "Mofaz: IDF plans to leave Philadelphi route in October": Amos Harel reports in Ha'aretz that "The Israel Defense Forces is planning to withdraw from the Philadelphi route along the Gaza-Egypt border in October, according to Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz. Mofaz told Channel 1 Tuesday that Israel has already decided to leave the area." Talks with the Egyptian government should lead to agreement on the final details of a deal, "whereby 750 Egyptian police officers will be deployed on the western side of the Philadelphi route."
Comments: (1) For a fuller discussion of this topic, see Dan Diker and Pinchas Inbari, "Are There Signs of a Jordanian-Palestinian Reengagement?" (2) The return of Jordan and Egypt expose the hollowness of Palestinian nationalism, an ideology still well under a century old. (3) Seeing what a disaster Palestinians have made of autonomy, perhaps Jordanian and Egyptian rule should be welcome. (July 27, 2005)
Nov. 10, 2005 update: Gerald Steinberg puts these developments into context in "The return of a (limited) Jordan option."
The growing role of Egypt and Jordan as intermediaries in the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is another significant departure resulting from the strategy of disengagement. Many Israelis, particularly government officials, view the involvement of the two Arab states that have signed peace treaties with Israel as central in providing security and stability in the territories from which Israel has departed. And while the "back to the future" scenario that many analysts invoke is exaggerated, the Egyptian return to Gaza and the Jordanian re-engagement in the West Bank open new political options.
May 31, 2007 update: According to Ilene R. Prusher, writing on this theme in the Christian Science Monitor, "the idea of the Palestinian territories – at least the West Bank – rejoining the Hashemite Kingdom to form some kind of confederation seems to be gaining traction on both sides of the Jordan River."
June 27, 2007 update: "Abbas asks PM [Olmert]: Let PLO brigade serve in West Bank" reads the startling news. Turns out that Mahmoud Abbas wants the 1,500 Palestinians in the Jordanian army who receive their salaries from the PLO "to help keep law and order." An unnamed "senior Israeli official" characterized the response as "We didn't say no, but we also didn't say yes."
The official added that the idea first came up about a year earlier, proposed by Keith Dayton, the U.S. security coordinator in the region. Not only is the brigade poorly trained but, its troops "have yet to be paid for some 10 months, ever since initiation of an international economic boycott against the Palestinian Authority. An Arab source said that 400 troops have deserted due to the economic situation."
July 10, 2007 update: "Growing Talk of Jordanian Role in Palestinian Affairs" is the title of the New York Times article. One characteristic quote, spoken in Baqaa, a "refugee" camp on the outskirts of Amman, by one Muhammad Khalil:
Everything has been ruined for us - we've been fighting for 60 years and nothing is left. It would be better if Jordan ran things in Palestine, if King Abdullah could take control of the West Bank. The issue would be over if Jordan just took control.
July 12, 2007 update: Yedi'ot Aharonot reports that Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is considering Mahmoud Abbas' request to approve the entry of the "Badr Division" of the Jordanian army, made up of Palestinians, to the West Bank, to help preserve his control there.
July 31, 2007 update: As so often in the Middle East, this already complex initiative has ended in confusing and obscurity. According to the Jerusalem Post, "Jordan won't send troops to W. Bank," it was not Abbas asking Olmert for this brigade but Olmert asking Abdullah II.
In this version, Olmert first raised the possibility of a Jordanian force on the West Bank. He was quoted as having told a National Security College graduating class, "Perhaps when we leave territories in the West Bank, an international force could be one to think about. Perhaps an Arab army in the West Bank." Olmert was apparently referring not to the Badr Brigade but regular, i.e., Bedouin, troops of the Jordanian Army.
In response, the Jordanian government spokesman Nasser Judeh said Jordan "absolutely rejected" this idea.
Many Israeli politicians usually resort to sending out such suggestions, which are definitely rejected by Jordan irrespective of their source or who propagates for them. Apart from being categorically rejected by Jordan, these proposals are meant to send a mistaken gesture or hint that the Palestinian national institutions are incapable of shouldering their responsibilities and to circumvent the Palestinian people's right to establish their independent state. Besides, this is an exposed attempt to entrench the idea of separating the West Bank from the Gaza Strip.
Sep. 4, 2008 update: The Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman endorses the Jordan-Egypt approach, notes IMRA.co.il today, quoting from pp. 202-03 of Lieberman's 2004 book, whose title in English is My Truth:
Concerning Gaza: "overall security responsibility should be placed in the end on Egypt."
Concerning the West Bank: "Jordan ... should give support ... including the issuing of passports and taking of overall and comprehensive security responsibility for what transpires in Judea and Samaria"
Lieberman concludes that, "for practical purposes this arrangement will be, almost certainly, a kind of two confederations - in one case with the Jordanians, and in the other case with Egypt." Feb. 25, 2009 update: Avigdor Lieberman, now leader of the third largest party in the Israeli parliament, writes today, "I … advocate the creation of a viable Palestinian state."
Jan. 5, 2009 update: John Bolton endorses the Jordan-Egypt scenario at "The Three-State Option":
we should look to a "three-state" approach, where Gaza is returned to Egyptian control and the West Bank in some configuration reverts to Jordanian sovereignty. … Objections to this idea will be manifold, and implementation difficult. One place to avoid problems is dispensing with intricate discussions over the exact legal status of Gaza and the West Bank. These territories contain more legal theories than land. "Retrocession" to Egypt and Jordan may or may not become permanent, but one need not advocate that to get started in the interim.
An Israeli blogger, Israel Matsav, takes issue with Bolton, arguing that
Israel cannot give up its security based on the assumption of the stability of the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes. Worst of all, John Bolton has gone the way of the State Department and suddenly believes (apparently) that our conflict is about land, and not about Israel's existence as a Jewish state on the Jewish homeland.
Jan. 7, 2009 update: I argue in favor of this approach today at "Solving the 'Palestinian Problem'."
Jan. 12, 2009 update: The Jordan-Egypt solution is emerging of its own accord, however unwelcome it may be, Michael Slackman implies in "Crisis in Gaza Imperils 2-State Plan." Some excerpts:
With every image of the dead in Gaza inflaming people across the Arab world, Egyptian and Jordanian officials are worried that they see a fundamental tenet of the Middle East peace process slipping away: the so-called two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state coexisting with Israel.
Egypt and Jordan fear that they will be pressed to absorb the Palestinian populations now living beyond their borders. If Israel does not assume responsibility for humanitarian aid in Gaza, for example, pressure could compel Egypt to fill the vacuum; Jordan, in turn, worries that Israel will try to push Palestinians from the West Bank into its territory.
In that case, both states fear, they could become responsible for policing the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel, undermining their peace treaties with Israel. …
In Egypt, where leaders have been castigated for refusing to keep open the Rafah crossing to Gaza, officials have argued that they are bound by the agreement on border security that followed Israel's withdrawal from Gaza. But there is an underlying subtext to their message: that Gaza is not Egypt's problem.
"Gaza is no longer Egypt's responsibility, and Egypt is determined not to take it back," said Abdel Raoud el-Reedy, a former ambassador to the United States who is the chairman of the Egyptian Council for Foreign Affairs. …
According to Slackman, Jordanians, too, are anxious, but I do not believe their proclaimed lack of interest in returning to the West Bank.
"It is a real concern in Jordan," said Adnan Abu Odeh, who was an adviser to King Hussein. While the prospect of having to absorb the West Bank may be remote, Jordan does not want to have to do so, fearing it would destroy the fabric of society in the country, where about half the population is of Palestinian origin. "This kind of formula means a Palestinian loss of their land and a Jordanian loss of their identity," Mr. Odeh said.
Also today, Israel Matsav (see the Jan. 5, 2009 update) takes issue with me.
Jan. 20, 2009 update: U.S. Senator Sam Brownback (Republican from Kansas) agrees with the Jordan-Egypt option at "After Oslo, a way forward."
One important idea that merits attention is to shift our policy to one that expects, perhaps even requires, both Jordanian and Egyptian participation in shaping the future of the territories they border. Doing so would inject a new sense of trust and responsibility among all the stakeholders of this conflict. It would also stimulate discussion of more viable political arrangements, such as Palestinian federation or confederation. These proposals - not entirely new, but also not vigorously debated by our foreign policy establishment - could yield far greater political and economic returns for Palestinians than the two-state proposal has achieved after 15 years and billions of dollars spent. …
the obstacle to pursuing such a plan comes not from the Palestinians, the Egyptians or the Jordanians, but from our own foreign policy establishment, which has sunk enormous resources into the two-state plan and hesitates to walk away. But the cause of peace requires an honest assessment of what has worked and what has not. The time has come to cut our losses on a failed experiment and pursue regional solutions that will lead to peace and prosperity in a troubled region.
Jan. 26, 2009 update: I began a second weblog entry today on this general topic, "Give Up on the Two-State Solution?"; it looks at that portion of the debate over a Palestinian state that does not make reference to the Jordan-Egypt option.
Jan. 27, 2009 update: In a Hebrew-language study that translates as "The Rise and Demise of the Two-State Paradigm," Efraim Inbar of the BESA Center calls the two-state solution "an obsolete paradigm" and seeks for Palestinian areas to be linked again (or "retroceded") to Egypt and Jordan.
While the two-state paradigm has a long pedigree and current popularity in contemporary academic and diplomatic circles, it has no chance of achieving a stable and peaceful outcome in the coming decades. … After more than 100 years of conflict, it is apparent that the two national movements, the Palestinian and the Zionist, are not close to a historic compromise. It is equally clear that the Palestinians are not able to build a state; they have been given the chance but produced only a 'failed state' that is corrupt and anarchic. …
Linkage or retrocession of the West Bank and Gaza to some form of Egyptian and Jordanian security control and civil administration has a greater chance of stabilizing the situation than the previous paradigm. While these Arab countries will initially resist this step, wise diplomacy and long-term conflict management will move in this direction.
Jan. 28, 2009 update: Thomas Friedman semi-endorses this approach in his suggested "5-state solution." He wants Hamas and Fatah to work together and this joint Palestinian Authority then
agrees to accept a limited number of Egyptian troops and police to help Palestinians secure Gaza and monitor its borders, as well as Jordanian troops and police to do the same in the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority would agree to five-year "security assistance programs" with Egypt in Gaza and with Jordan in the West Bank.
Feb. 2, 2009 update: Khaled Abu Toameh, the extremely well informed Palestinian affairs reporter for the Jerusalem Post, agrees that the two-state solution is defunct:
The new reality that has existed on the ground since 2007, where the Palestinians have two separate mini-states in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, casts doubts as to the viability of the two-state solution. Since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, the Palestinians have systematically failed in laying the cornerstone for a Palestinian state that would exist alongside Israel.
He goes on to note that since mid-2007, "the Palestinians have two entities" in the Gaza Strip and on the West Bank and that the recent war in Gaza "further deepened divisions between these two entities." He predicts that Palestinians "will have to live with these two separate and rival entities for quite some time. … Hence any talk about a two-state solution between the Israelis and the Palestinians at this stage is more irrelevant than ever."
Likewise, he dismisses a one-state solution as "also irrelevant."
The time, therefore, "has come to consider other options," and specifically "to involve the Jordanians and the Egyptians in running the affairs of the Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Abu Toameh begins by noting that
The Egyptians and Jordanians are already involved, to a certain degree, in helping the Palestinians in both entities. In recent years, the Egyptians have often found themselves involved in what's happening inside the Gaza Strip. The Jordanians have also lately increased their involvement in the affairs of their former citizens in the West Bank.
He goes on to endorse the Jordan-Egypt approach:
What is needed now is to exert pressure on Cairo and Amman to step up their involvement in what is happening in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Training Palestinian security forces is not enough. The two Arab countries should be more involved, even if that means deploying their own troops in these areas.
President Hosni Mubarak and King Abdullah II do not like the idea. They prefer that the Palestinians remain Israel's problem alone. But the Palestinians really need the help of these two countries. As such, there is nothing wrong with trying a new solution - one that would place the West Bank and the Gaza Strip under the jurisdiction of Jordan and Egypt respectively until the Palestinians get their act together and start working toward establishing a good state. It is possible that, with the help of the Jordanians and the Egyptians, the Palestinians might move faster toward achieving their goal.
Comment: A Palestinian himself, Abu Toameh brings a valuable insight to this discussion – namely, that the Jordan-Egypt can be interim, until Palestinians "get their act together." As I do not oppose a two-state solution in principle, I am happy to include this as an ultimate disposition.
Feb. 3, 2009 update: Caroline Glick takes issue with (by name) John Bolton, Efraim Inbar, and me, finding our no-state solution undesirable:
Not only would Israel be unable to trust that its security situation would improve if the areas were to revert to Jordanian and Egyptian control, Israel could trust that its security situation would rapidly deteriorate as the prospect of regional war increased. With a retrocession of Gaza, Judea and Samaria to Egyptian and Jordanian rule, Israel would find itself situated within indefensible borders, and facing the likely prospect that the Egyptian and Jordanian regimes would be destabilized
Instead, Glick offers a very unambitious approach: "The best way to move forward is to reject the calls for a solution and concentrate instead on stabilization." She expects Gaza to remain
an Iranian-sponsored, Hamas-controlled area for as long as Hamas retains control over the international border with Egypt. So Israel must reassert control over the border. It is also clear that Hamas and its terrorist partners in Fatah and Islamic Jihad will continue to target the South for as long as they can. So Israel needs to establish a security zone inside of Gaza wide enough to remove the South from rocket and mortar range.
As for the West Bank,
Israel should continue its military control over the areas in order to ensure its national security. It should also apply its law to the areas of Judea and Samaria that are within the domestic consensus. … Israel should end its support for the PLO-Fatah-led PA, and support the empowerment of non-jihadist elements of Palestinian society to lead a new autonomous authority in the areas.
Comment: I agree with these steps but predict that pressure on Israel to resolve the "Palestinian problem" will compel Jerusalem to go way beyond border control and security zones.
Feb. 4, 2009 update: Poll results published today by the Palestinian Center for Public Opinion show precious little support among Palestinians for the Gaza-to-Egypt idea among Gazans, West Bankers, and Jerusalemites. Asked "What do you think is the preferred solution for the Palestinian people in the current stage?" (الحل الأفضل للشعب الفلسطيني في المرحلة الحالية), the replies came as follows:
46.0% Form a government of national unity
37.0% Conduct new presidential and legislative elections
03.7% Invite international forces to take responsibility for the Gaza Strip
01.2% Affiliate the Gaza Strip to Egypt
The above wording and figures derive from the Arabic text; the English version differs in minor ways and also includes a figure completely absent from the Arabic version:
21.1% Return to the negotiation table with Israel
Comment: Palestinians voted in Hamas, so one can hardly expect them to endorse the Jordan-Egypt plan – anymore than one can expect the outside world to give priority to the sentiments of a population that votes in Hamas.
Feb. 11, 2009 update: Ken Besig, an Israeli reader who elsewhere identifies himself as living in Kiryat Araba, comments on my Jan. 7, 2009, article that he "would rather trust my Israel Defence Forces to protect me, thank you very much!" than rely on Jordanian forces. I reply to him that on the West Bank, "I do not envision Jordanian forces taking control of the entire area but only replacing the Palestinian Authority where it presently (in theory) controls territory."
Feb. 26, 2009 update: Eytan Bentsur, a former director-general of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, offers a complex take on this issue. On the one hand, he believes in a two-state solution but declares that
As long as Hamas remains defiant of any peace agreement with Israel while acting as a full-fledged extremist Iranian agent, we are much closer to the establishment of two Palestinian states than to reaching a two-state solution. … Whereas the two-state solution ought to be reiterated, for the time being it is an untenable proposition. It will be a grave mistake to pursue the Annapolis track against all odds.
Instead, Bentsur calls for a revival of the Madrid process, which he calls "the only available vehicle to hit the road to comprehensive peace." Why? Because "It provides a viable, existing and proven framework that calls for historic reconciliation and compromise alongside plans and endeavors for regional cooperation in economic and practically all walks of life."
Left unsaid in this analysis is what the "Madrid process" means in 2009, but a look back at the Soviet-U.S. invitation to the parley implies the direct involvement of both the Jordanian and Egyptian states:
Governments to be invited include Israel, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan. Palestinians will be invited and attend as part of a joint Jordanian-Palestinian delegation. Egypt will be invited to the conference as a participant.
Thus, Bentsur appears to want Amman and Cairo back in Palestinian diplomacy.
Mar. 2, 2009 update: Elliott Abrams, newly free to speak out after eight years in the Bush White House, is also thinking about giving up on a Palestinian state:
It is also time to rethink the recent commitment to leaping all at once to full independence for the Palestinians, and even to break the taboo and rethink that ultimate goal itself. … one is free to wonder as well whether Palestinian "statehood" is the best and most sensible goal for Palestinians.
He reminds readers that George W. Bush obliquely brought Jordan and Egypt into the equation in his speech of June 24, 2002, when he stated:
Peace requires a new and different Palestinian leadership, so that a Palestinian state can be born. I call on the Palestinian people to elect new leaders, not compromised by terror. I call upon them to build a practicing democracy based on tolerance and liberty. If the Palestinian people actively pursue these goals, America and the world will actively support their efforts. If the Palestinian people meet these goals, they will be able to reach agreement with Israel and Egypt and Jordan on security and other arrangements for independence.
Abrams goes on, in his own voice, to muse about possible arrangements with Amman:
Now, even the mention of Egyptian and Jordanian involvement will evoke loud protests, not least in Amman and Ramallah, and perhaps U.S. policymakers should think but not speak about such an outcome. There are many and varied possible relationships between a Palestinian entity in the West Bank and the Hashemite monarchy, and if none can be embraced today, none should be discarded either. One Arab statesman told me when I asked him about a Jordanian role that there "must absolutely be an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank—if only for 15 minutes," and then they could decide on some form of federation or at least a Jordanian security role for the area. If the greatest Israeli, Jordanian, and Egyptian fears are of terrorism, disorder, and Iranian inroads in a Palestinian West Bank state, a Jordanian role is a practical means of addressing those fears.
Mar. 21, 2009 update: Efraim Inbar takes another crack at the topic in "The Rise and Demise of the Two-State Paradigm," Orbis, Spring 2009, pp. 265-83 (not online). It's the most extensive and intelligent review of the two-state fantasy. Although well-disposed to the Jordan-Egypt option, Inbar in the end comes down in favor of "conflict management," by which he means "to minimize the cost of armed conflict and preserve freedom of political maneuvering" until better alternatives present themselves.
Dec. 6, 2010 update: Danny Rubinstein speculates in "The Jordanian Option, Again" for the Jerusalem Report (not online) that the collapse in Palestinian-Israeli negotiations may re-open the door to Amman on the West Bank.
Today, the PLO is a much weaker. even pathetic. Force [than in 1988, when King Hussein gave up claims to the West Bank, one] that has failed to make good on its promise to create an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital. All of which provides fertile ground for the Jordanians to get back into the picture with regard to the future of the West Bank. The situation has progressed to the extent that it is even possible to overhear. from time to time, discussion of a renewal of the idea of the Palestinian·Jordanian confederation - and even the possibility of Israel's participation in that confederation.
Dec. 9, 2010 update: Indications bubble up of Jordanian interest in the West Bank. Ahmad Abu Mashor, 63, head of the Jahalin Bedouin (who number 80,000 in the Jerusalem area and 60,000 in Jordan), says out loud that Jordan's King Abdullah "has lost confidence in the Palestinian Authority and the PLO institutions." Instead, his government "is working with the Palestinian sheikhs on a channel of cooperation that bypasses the Palestinian Authority."
Oct. 12, 2012 update: Prince Hassan bin Talal, crown prince of Jordan 1965-99, claimed on Oct. 9 that the West Bank is part of the Kingdom of Jordan and dismissed the two-state solution. MEMRI has details, drawing on the Jordanian website Almustaqbal-a.com (the latter appears in quotation marks in MEMRI's account):
"Prince Hassan stressed that the West Bank is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which included both banks of the [Jordan] River" and added that Hassan "did not personally oppose the two state solution, but that this solution is irrelevant at the current stage." … The report added: "The attendees understood that Prince [Hassan] is working to reunite both banks of the [Jordan] River, and commended him for it."
Prince Hassan later added: "The unity that existed between the west and east banks for 17 years... was arguably one of the best attempts at unity that ever occurred in the Arab [world] ... I hope that I do not live to see the day when Jordan … relinquishes the land occupied in 1967 by the IDF, since it would bring us all to witness the humiliating end... These lands, which were occupied as part of the 1967 lands, including East Jerusalem."
Comment: It's a curious moment for Hassan to have such expansionist ideas, when the Hashemite kingdom's control over the East Bank is very much in jeopardy.
Oct. 22, 2012 update: Mudar Zahran builds on my comment immediately above in his article, "Is Jordan the Hashemite-occupied Palestine?" His conclusion:
The Hashemites should also relinquish any dreams of sovereignty over any part of Israel; in fact they should count themselves very lucky if they manage to maintain their rule over Jordan, where many of their subjects view them as occupiers.
Dec. 20, 2012 update: MEMRI reports today on an article published Nov. 26 in the official Saudi daily Al-Sharq, in which columnist Ibrahim Aal Majari called for Gaza to be annexed to Egypt to protect residents of Gaza and improve Egyptian-Israeli relations.
Dec. 26, 2012 update: Daoud Kuttab, a Palestinian journalist, asks "Are the Palestinians Ready to Share a State With Jordan?" and replies in the affirmative.
Kuttab starts by recalling a 1993 interview when Israel's Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin said that he envisions the West Bank ultimately being part of an entity with Jordan. He goes on to note the failure of the Oslo Accords and the resurrection of an old idea: "A role for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan." He cites the speech given by Jordan's Prince Hassan bin Talal on Oct. 9 (and noted above at Oct. 12, 2012), noting that it received little attention until Farouk al-Qadoumi, a founder of Fatah, picked up on the idea, suggesting the West Bank be connected to Jordan as part of a federation or a confederation. Yaser Abed Rabo, secretary of the PLO, in turn called this statement "naïve." But earlier this month, Kuttab goes on,
Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Abbas informed several PLO leaders "to be prepared for a new confederation project with Jordan and other parties in the international community," and that his office has already issued reports that evaluate "the best strategies to lead possible negotiations with Jordan" toward "reviving the confederation." He has reportedly asked PLO officials to prepare themselves to pursue this strategy. This report, if confirmed by official sources, could be a watershed moment for the Palestinian national movement, and the highest profile endorsement of this persistent proposal.
Kuttab sees Abbas's willingness to explore a Jordanian confederation as a by-product of the recent United Nation General Assembly acceptance of Palestine as an observer state, which gave Abbas the political capital to explore this controversial idea. Kuttab cites several advantages to this approach:
The idea of Jordan having a greater role in Palestine is attractive for various parties. With the Israelis claiming that the Palestinians might repeat the Gaza rocket problem if they withdraw from the West Bank, the idea of a Jordanian security role in the West Bank can defuse such Israeli concerns. A role for Jordan in Palestine would be publicly acceptable in Israel, where the Hashemite enjoy consistent respect among everyday Israelis. Americans would also find such an idea easier to deal with if talks ever return. And even among Palestinians who are unhappy with the PLO and its failures to end the Israeli occupation, any process that can end Israeli presence in Palestinian territories is welcome—even if that is replaced, temporarily, by an Arab party, whether it is Jordan or any other member of the Arab league.
After citing various difficulties this idea would encounter, Kuttab concludes:
While it is unclear if Jordan will ever end up having any sovereign role in the West Bank, support for a greater role for Jordan in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will no doubt increase in the coming months and years if the current decline of the PLO and the Palestinian Authority continues.
Sep. 21, 2013 update: Danny Danon, the deputy defense minister of Israel (about whom I wrote a column here), has come out in favor of annulling the Oslo accords and replacing what he calls "Oslo's false promise" with the three-state solution.
In the future, the final status of the Palestinians will be determined in a regional agreement involving Jordan and Egypt, when the latter has been restabilized. All the region's states must participate in the process of creating a long-term solution for the Palestinian problem. In the short term, the Palestinians will continue to have autonomy over their civilian lives while Israel remains in charge of security throughout Judea and Samaria, commonly referred to as the West Bank. Following an initial period, the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria could continue to develop their society as part of an agreement involving Israel and Jordan. Similarly, Gaza residents could work with Israel and Egypt to create a society that granted them full civil authority over their lives in a manner that was acceptable to all sides.
Related Topics: Arab-Israel conflict & diplomacy, Egypt, Jordan, Palestinians
receive the latest by email: subscribe to daniel pipes' free mailing list
This text may be reposted or forwarded so long as it is presented as an integral whole with complete and accurate information provided about its author, date, place of publication, and original URL.