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What's wrong with Jordan?

Reader comment on item: Does Israel Need a [Peace] Plan?

Submitted by Shahar (United States), Feb 2, 2003 at 22:57

What's wrong with Jordan as a Palestinian State? Why should there be two Arab states in Palestine, one of them cut like a cookie out of Israel along with the crumbs of Gaza? Should there be two independent Jewish States in Palestine as well?

Mr. Pipes main argument against Jordan as Palestine is that Palestinians don't seem to want it that way. Some parts of this very article undermine this argument. One is the theme itself, capitulation. If the Arabs are to accept defeat, it seems a quibbling matter what the exact terms of their defeat actually are, especially considering that they are not likely to *want* any of those terms. The other point is that what they do apparently want, the death of Zionism, is non-negotiable.

The other argument presented here, that Jordan will simply become a new base of operations against Israel, makes only partial sense. It's difficult to imagine a better base to act against Israel than what would be a new Palestinian state. In contrast, Jordan would have a significant interest in preventing such operations, especially after a war in Iraq. Moreover, Jordan would have a greater ability to act against terrorism, both politically and materially, than any state the refugee population could possibly give rise to.

Concerning the Palestinians themselves, if we have any regard for their demand of self determination and democracy, Jordan looks even more valuable as a solution. In an argument similar to the ones I've already given, the King is likely to prove a far more friendly and progressive partner in the project of representative government for the Arabs of Palestine than Arafat or any successor would or could be. If the question is a political life in which the interest of the people are represented, you can't go very far more wrong than any of the organizations that currently claim to represent the Palestinian people. Nor is any improvement likely. With the territory poised, as it is, like a knife at Israel's throat, a newly formed state on that land will always, at best, be in a state of tension with the Jewish state. Good fences make good neighbors, and in Jordan there is much more opportunity for the constant flow of political progress that we associate with a modern democracy. A west bank/gaza state could never overcome its built in tensions.

Finally, Netanyahu, for one, does not seem to believe that Jordanian citizenship for the Palestinians would require that they leave their homes in Israel. I agree. They would become foreign nationals and would remain safe.

The win-win deal here, the one that would address the rights of the Palestinians to self determination and a political life, Israeli security and frankly Israel's right to its own land, is Jordanian citizenship for the Palestinians.

Terms of surrender? Wouldn't this mean that Jordan is also surrendering, even though Israel and Jordan at not strictly at war? Well, yes. This is a proxy war, and a meaningful surrender would have to mean that the whole community supporting this war accept both culpability for the war itself and responsibility for its resolution. That community is large, even larger than the Arab world.

Can they all surrender? Will the United Nations surrender to Israel? As much as I'd like to see that, the reality will be that somebody is going to have to take the fall. I nominate Jordan. In light of recent news stories, there's reason to think that such a fall could be cushioned and even lead to a stronger Jordan.


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