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Op-Ed: "Palestine"? Livni is Wrong, Prince Bandar is Right

Saudi Arabian Intelligence Chief Bandar's candor could lead to real peace.
Published: Tuesday, October 29, 2013 8:14 AM


Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief - Prince Bandar bin Sultan - made a secret visit to Jordan this week - according to a report in Ammon News dated 25 October - reportedly meeting with Jordanian officials to discuss recent developments in the region - especially the Syrian file.

It would be inconceivable that they did not also discuss the Palestinian Arab file - where any  prospect of achieving a "two-state solution" for the first time ever in recorded history involving the creation of  a second Arab state in former Palestine - in addition to Jordan - seems destined to certain failure after twenty years of fruitless negotiations trying to procure such an outcome.

Bandar's visit to Jordan came hard on the heels of a conference held in Israel - where Israel's lead negotiator in current secret two-state negotiations with the PLO - Tzipi Livni - said that the Palestinian Arab state can be opposed only for ideological reasons, rejecting the issue of security.

What really bothers her, she said, is that the opponents of a two-state solution have failed to put forward a legitimate alternative that is consistent with Jewish values and that would allow Israel to continue its relations with the international community.

She warned that failure to finalize an agreement with the Palestinians puts Israel at risk of having an unfavorable solution imposed upon it.

There are only two options facing Israel, she said, a one -state solution or a two-state solution, and only a two-state solution ensures a Jewish and democratic state. She noted that the goal of the nine months negotiating process begun almost three months ago is a final-status agreement to end all claims by both sides."

Livni is wrong - and Bandar would be the first to castigate her for her unpardonable error.

There are three possible one-state solutions that would ensure a Jewish and democratic state -  which involve merging the "West Bank" and Gaza:

-Entirely with Jordan or

-Dividing between Israel and Jordan or

-Dividing between Israel, Jordan and Egypt

23 years ago in an Open Letter published in the Washington Times on 30 September 1990 - Bandar - then Saudi Arabia's Ambassador in America - had publicly criticised Jordan's King Hussein for his failure to create a Palestinian Arab State in the "West Bank" between 1948-1967.

Bandar made the following three very pertinent comments:

"Your Majesty, you claimed to defend the Palestinian people`s right to self-determination and a state of their own. And I support you in that. But you were responsible for the Palestinian homeland on the West Bank from 1948 to 1967. Why in all that period did you not give them their rights and statehood?"

"You are a very intelligent man, Your Majesty. And you have a fine memory. You say the Kuwait-Iraqi border is disputed and based on a historical record created by the colonial British. Your Majesty, you should be the last one to say that. Not only all your borders, but your whole country was created by the same colonial British."

"Tell us, Your Majesty, what you have done to safeguard the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that you lost to the Israelis in 1967, almost a quarter of a century ago?"

Bandar was right in sheeting home the blame on Jordan - but he also failed to acknowledge that the Arab League shared a major part of the responsibility for failing to have achieved that  "two-state solution" during 1948-1967 - when not one Jew lived in Gaza, the "West Bank" and East Jerusalem after they had all been permanently driven from their homes by six invading Arab-League members' armies in 1948,

Bandar correctly identified that the conflict did not begin in 1948 - but started with the "colonial British" - who in 1922 planted the seeds enabling the ultimate creation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946 - thus denying the Jews the right to reconstitute the Jewish National Home in 76.9% of the territory originally intended for that purpose by the San Remo Conference as confirmed in the Treaty of Sevres in 1920.

Former US President Jimmy Carter neatly summed up this British decision in Time on 11 October 1982:

"As a nation it (Jordan) is a contrivance, arbitrarily devised by a few strokes of the pen"

With the two-state solution now in tatters - Jordan must resolutely face up to the responsibility incumbent on it to end the Arab-Jewish conflict by negotiating with Israel to achieve the most realistic one-state solution presently attainable - dividing the "West Bank"  between Israel and Jordan.

Jordan's opportunity to belatedly rectify the errors committed by it between 1948-1967 would have almost certainly been aired in the secret discussions this week in Jordan with Bandar.

Jordan's King Abdullah would be well aware of the words of his father - the late King Hussein - who stated in his Autobiography - "Uneasy Lies The Head":

"Palestine and Transjordan were both under British Mandate, but as my grandfather pointed out in his memoirs, they were hardly separate countries. Trans-Jordan being to the east of the river Jordan, it formed in a sense, the interior of Palestine"

The idea that Saudi Arabia could actually be encouraging Jordan to help end - if not finally terminate - the Arab-Jewish conflict within the context of secret discussions - is fascinating to contemplate.

The PLO has undeniably botched its chances.