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      Jordan's Abdullah II Backs Fatah-Hamas Unity Deal

      Underscoring the chill in Israel-Jordan relations since his coronation, Abdullah II praised Cairo's Fatah-Hamas reconciliation. Self-preservation?
      By Gabe Kahn.
      First Publish: 5/5/2011, 11:09 PM / Last Update: 5/6/2011, 3:17 AM

      Underscoring the chill in relations between Israel and Jordan since his ascension to the throne in 1999, King Abdullah II on Wednesday welcomed Cairo's Fatah-Hamas reconciliation.

      The King's remarks, publicized in a Royal Court document, were made during a meeting with Fatah and Hamas emissaries who came to express their appreciation for Abdullah's support for their aspirations.

      Regarding Jerusalem, Abdullah said Jordan will continue its role in "protecting holy sites" and supporting Fatah and Hamas in Jerusalem in "confronting Israeli unilateral measures," which, he said, seek to alter the identity of the Holy City.

      “Jordan will continue to support you politically and economically during the next stage until reaching the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on Palestinian national soil,” the King said.

      Abdullah's reference to "A Palestinian state on Palestinian soil" marks a notable departure from his family's long-held position and underscores the chill he has fostered in relations between the Hashemite monarchs and Israel since he ascended the throne.

      "The truth is that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan," his father King Hussein said in 1981.

      "Palestine and Transjordan are one," his grandfather and namesake King Abdullah I told the Arab League in Cairo in 1948.

      "We are the government of Palestine, the army of Palestine and the refugees of Palestine," Jordanian Prime Minister Hazza' al-Majali said in 1959.

      "Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine; there is one people and one land, with one history and one and the same fate," Prince Hassan, brother of King Hussein, told the Jordanian National Assembly in 1970.

      For a summary of the reasons behind this policy, click here.

      Some attribute Abdullah's departure from his family's traditional view that "Jordan is Palestine" not to statecraft, but to marriage.

      Jordan's Queen Raina, though born in Kuwait, is the child of Arab parents from Tulkarem in the PA controlled part of Samaria.

      However, most experts suggest Abdullah's support of “Palestinian aspirations” is grounded in self-preservation – admitting Fatah and Hamas to Jordan would be just as dangerous for the Hashemite Monarchy as it has proven for Israel.

      In September 1970, popularly known as “Black September,” Abdullah's father King Hussein was forced to declare martial law and crack-down on PLO terrorists under then Chairman Yassir Arafat who had taken over the East Bank of the Jordan and challenged his rule.

      Current PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was a trusted member of Yassir Arafat's inner circle responsible for developing Fatah's networks and raising funds for PLO operations at the time, including the Munich Massacre in 1972.