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two questions

Reader comment on item: Annexing the West Bank Would Hurt Israel

Submitted by David L. (United States), May 20, 2020 at 15:54

In the possibly vain hope that this comment thread is sufficiently active that Dr. Pipes might still answer remarks posted herein, I have two questions.

First is concerning the widely expressed concern, which is clearly motivating the cautionary maneuvers of "APM" Gantz and FM Ashkenazi, that annexation would destabilize Jordan. Clearly Jordan is the most aggressive of all international opponents of the plan today, if you read between the lines of the headlines. I do not dismiss the possibility that the monarchy will one day fall, or that a secondary effect of the implementation of Israeli sovereignty will be to hasten the day this happens. Although I think Jordan is signalling its understanding that the peace treaty is too important to its own strategic interests, to consider the abrogation thereof. (The King notably has not repeated his September warning of "ending" the agreement, and has demurred whenever asked). The most obvious strategic interest in it for Jordan, is the fact that the treaty formally relinquishes their claim to the West Bank. An abject rejection of the treaty as a result of Israel asserting a territorial claim, would have the implicit if not explicit result of retracting the Jordanian "divorce" from the Palestinians, whether they like it or not.

And so the question is this. While acknowledging the stabilizing effect of the Hashemite monarchy, and security coordination between Israel and the Kingdom, would Israel not stand to gain by recasting the conflict with the Palestinians as a border dispute with the substantially vaster sovereign in the East? Would this not discredit the argument, promulgated on the Left, that of the two parties to the dispute, Israel is the "greedy" Goliath, fighting a land-starved statelet? I don't suggest population transfer or any such horrors, and I also do not believe that the instability of the monarchy is a foregone conclusion.

But to the extent that the conflict with the Palestinians as currently articulated, presents Israel with two existential dilemmas, is not the argument that the appeasement of the Jordanian government must be pursued at all costs, a classic realization of a sunk cost fallacy? Is not the behavior of the Jordanian government insofar as lobbying aggressively for European sanctions against Israel, a proof of the point that they are more untrustworthy allies than assumed-- indeed that perhaps they are being indulged as friends while they pursue enmity? And to the extent that the Palestinian conflict, and its exacerbation by European dictates, is THE existential challenge to Israel, is it not appropriate to take stock of Jordan's behavior, and whether they have become a strategic burden?

My apologies for having miscounted by declaring that I had "two questions." I consider all the above to be one question, phrased in multiple sentences. My other question is this. If President Trump supports Israel's declaration rather than reacting with fury, to what extent does this alter the author's calculation?

Submitting....

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Daniel Pipes replies:

  1. The main Jordanian government concern is unrest within Jordan.
  2. There will be no such recasting of the conflict.
  3. It's not appeasing the Jordanian government; it's smart international relations. See my point (5) in the addendum.
  4. If Trump approves, that reduces by one the many drawbacks of annexation.

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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