Dry Bones: Israel and Jordan
Dry Bones: Israel and JordanY. Kirschen

It is regrettable that Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Jordan’s King Abdullah did not discuss the possibility of Jordan-Israel negotiations on former US President Donald Trump’s 2020 Peace Plan for allocating sovereignty in Judea/Samaria ('West Bank'), Gaza and parts of Israel (Trump’s Plan) - when they met in Amman on 5 January.

Gantz enthusiastically supported Trump’s Plan (see image below) following its release on 28 January 2020:

“The Trump administration’s peace plan is a significant and historic milestone indeed. Immediately after the elections, I will work toward implementing it from within a stable, functioning Israeli government, in tandem with the other countries in our region.”

Trump Plan Map
Trump Plan MapVision of peace

Israel now has a stable functioning Government – so Gantz’s failure to raise Trump’s Plan with Abdullah when sitting face to face with the King runs counter to Israel’s national interest.

This is especially so given Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas’s outright rejection of Trump’s Plan – reportedly telling an Arab League foreign ministers meeting on 1 February 2020:

“They told me Trump wants to send me the deal of the century to read, I said I would not.

Trump asked that I speak to him over the phone, so I said ‘no’, and that he wants to send me a letter, so I refused to receive it.”

Holding up a map that shows the gradual geographic reduction of Palestine through four stages from pre-1948 to Trump’s Middle East plan, Abbas said: “I challenge any of you, if you can even see us on the map. If you ask a child in first grade to draw Trump’s map he will never know how to.”

“This is a disgrace,”

The map Abbas brandished (pictured below) was a phony map of “Historic Palestine” – dating from 1947 - not 1920. "Palestine" historically, referred to a region peopled by Jews and others and is the name the Romans called the area known up to then as Judea.

  • Article 2 of the PLO Charter recognizes that Palestine between 1920 and 1946 included what is today called Jordan - 78% of the territory of Palestine under the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine:

“Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.”

  • Jordan was granted independence by Great Britain in 1946 - terminating its Mandate in the remaining 22% of Palestine in 1948.
  • The PLO never claimed sovereignty in Judea/Samaria '(West Bank') or Gaza on its establishment in 1964 – article 24 of its founding Charter declaring:

"This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area. Its activities will be on the national popular level in the liberational, organizational, political and financial fields."

  • Jordan occupied Judea/Samaria between 1948 and 1967.

Jordan’s history certainly qualifies it to replace the PLO as Israel’s negotiating partner to implement Trump’s Plan.

Abdullah stressed to Gantz the:

“importance of maintaining calm in the Palestinian Territories and taking all measures to create the horizon needed to achieve just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution”

Jordan - stepping into the negotiating void created by Abbas’s continuing rejection of Trump’s Plan – would become a major driver in maintaining that calm.

Israel-Jordan negotiations to redraw their currently-agreed existing international border - using Trump’s Plan - could result in the following two-state solution first contemplated by the 1922 Mandate for Palestine:

Israel acquiring sovereignty in about 30% of Judea/Samaria ('West Bank').

Jordan acquiring sovereignty in about 70% of Judea/Samaria ('West Bank'), all of Gaza and parts of Israel’s existing sovereign territory.

No Arab or Jewish residents being forced to move from their current homes or business locations.

Trump’s Plan has now become the definitive blueprint for resolving the 100-years old Arab-Jewish conflict in former Palestine.

Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades.