Saturday, April 23, 2011

Return of the Jordanian Option

Because the Palestinian Arabs have perpetually refused to end hostilities with the Jews through accepting a state for themselves in peace next to the Jewish one, some Israeli Knesset officials are revisiting the Jordanian option.

Amid the unrest now sweeping the Middle East, Israeli government and security officials are quietly discussing an unusual strategy that would pass the Palestinians’ political future off to Jordan. With the odds of a negotiated two-state solution at an all-time low, former Defense Minister Moshe Arens, Knesset Member Arieh Eldad, and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin resurrected the “Jordan is Palestine” model for regional peace.

Israeli officials fear that a Palestinian Intifada could break out on both sides of the Jordan River, and they seek to make it as much a Jordanian problem as an Israeli one.

Although anti-Zionist radicals of the sort that frequent Daily Kos, the Huffington Post, and the UK Guardian look upon the Jordanian option with extreme distaste because it means the resolution of the conflict, that is not Israel's problem.

Nor is it mine, of course.

The fact is that Jordan comprises about 77 percent of British mandated Palestine and the Palestinians represent something like 75 percent of the population of that country.  This means that Jordan is, essentially, "Palestine."

As a long-time supporter of the two-state solution it is more than a little disappointing that oppressed and occupied Palestinians absolutely refuse to end their oppression and occupation by accepting a state for themselves in peace next to Israel.

It's just very unusual.  In the long history of human oppression, I have never heard of any oppressed people who refuse to give up their oppression until their conditions are met.

It's remarkable, in fact.

From early in the twentieth century until today the Palestinians, and before them the Arabs of the British mandate, have never accepted the partition plan and have never accepted a Jewish state on any part of formerly Muslim controlled land.  For reasons having to do with extreme, Koranically-sanctioned, hatred toward Jews, as well as the requirements of the Sharia, the Arabs have consistently refused acceptance of Israel as the Jewish state.

As anyone who reads this blog knows my stance is to respect the Palestinians by respecting their decision.  Their decision is "no."  For almost a hundred years their position has consistently been "no."

No negotiations.  No recognition.  No peace.

These are the three famous "nos" of Khartoum, issued by the Arab League immediately following the "humiliating" Arab defeat in the 6 Day War, and there is very little, if anything, to indicate that they are not still in effect.

That being the case we need to accept the fact that "no means no."  And since "no means no," since the Palestinians have consistently refused to end the conflict via a negotiated settlement, Israel needs to resolve the conflict in a manner that does not depend on a negotiated settlement.   One way to do that, the way that I have generally supported, is for Israel to declare its final borders on the western side of the Jordan river and then move the IDF behind those borders.

That represents one potential resolution, but the Jordanian option represents another possibility.  Given that its population is three-quarters Palestinian, it makes sense to declare Jordan the Palestinian state, with an annexation of much of the western bank of the river.

At the moment only a relatively small proportion of Israelis see the Jordanian option as viable, but given the circumstances of perpetual Palestinian intransigence and refusal to accept a state for themselves, it's an option that Israel should explore.  What's needed is for Israel to come up with the incentives necessary to bring the Jordanian government into agreement.

This will certainly not be easy, but what's there to lose?

Besides, as PLO executive Zuheir Mohsen acknowledged:

The Palestinian people does not exist. The creation of a Palestinian state is only a means for continuing our struggle against the state of Israel for our Arab unity. In reality today there is no difference between Jordanians, Palestinians, Syrians and Lebanese. Only for political and tactical reasons do we speak today about the existence of a Palestinian people, since Arab national interests demand that we posit the existence of a distinct Palestinian people to oppose Zionism.

For tactical reasons, Jordan, which is a sovereign state with defined borders, cannot raise claims to Haifa and Jaffa, while as a Palestinian, I can undoubtedly demand Haifa, Jaffa, Beer-Sheva and Jerusalem. However, the moment we reclaim our right to all of Palestine, we will not wait even a minute to unite Palestine and Jordan.

Heck, they'd barely even need to modify their flags.

1 comment:

  1. Interestingly, I raised this just the other day in a comment at Daily Kos.

    Why do the Palestinians limit themselves, when they should at least have dominion over a large swath of Jordan?