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MK Eldad: PM Should Have Said 'Jordan is Palestine'

MK Aryeh Eldad criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's response to PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas saying there is a third path.
By Gabe Kahn
First Publish: 5/16/2012, 8:58 PM

MK Eldad
MK Eldad
Flash90

MK Aryeh Eldad on Wednesday criticized Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's letter to Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas in the Knesset plenum.

“The letter should have included the fact that the resolution of the conflict lies with the possibility the Jordan will become the PA homeland when the Palestinian Arabs overthrow King Abdullah," he said.

Eldad has dueled in recent years with Jordanian King Abdullah II's decision to abandon the Hashemite Monarchy's position that Jordan is the true 'Palestinian State.'

In 2011, Abdullah rejected the long-held formula of the Hashemite monarchy that "Jordan is Palestine," saying "The so-called 'substitute homeland' exists only in the minds of the weak."

Abdullah, responding to comments by Eldad, told reporters "the Jordanian option is an illusion. Jordan is Jordan, and Palestine is Palestine."

Eldad responded saying "It is better Abdullah announce today that Jordan is the national homeland for the Palestinians – or else seek asylum in London."

Critics of Eldad say his push for a return to the Jordan is Palestine is well-founded in a historical and legal sense - King Hussein I asserted in 1981 that "Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan" - but fails to take into account the geopolitical reality of Abdullah's flat opposition.

However, Eldad's position has evolved and is no longer based on Abdullah's assent, but the presumption that the Hashemite Monarchy, destabilized by the Arab Spring, probably won't survive. He now maintains - should Abdullah be forced into exile - that Israel should be prepared to resurrect the initiative. Mudar Zahran, a Jordanian political activist who lives in London, is working to make that initiative a reality.

Such a shift in policy is unlikely from Netanyahu who, when faced with an increasingly stark decision between ceding or annexing Judea and Samaria, has clearly indicated he prefers to give up territory. Just last month, Netanyahu told CNN he believed Palestinian Authority Arabs should be given a contiguous state in Judea and Samaria.

Nor, observers say, with Cairo looking at a possible rejection of the 1979 Israel-Egypt Peace Treaty, is Netanyahu likely to make a dramatic policy change that could further destabilize Abdullah's throne - and with it the one stable treaty with an Arab state Israel has.

Nonetheless, Eldad's supporters say, should Abdullah be forced into exile, Israel's strategic profile vis-a-vis Jordan would radically alter whether Netanyahu wants it to or not – and that such an outcome could benefit Israel.

At that point, they argue, Israel would be able to seize the third, better option – “Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan."