The three day visit to Israel last week by President Trump’s National Security Advisor – John Bolton – indicates Jordan will replace the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) in concluding negotiations with Israel to resolve territorial sovereignty in Judea and Samaria ('West Bank'), East Jerusalem and Gaza (”the disputed territories”) under Trump’s peace plan.
Bolton’s visit follows a former Jordanian ambassador – Walid Sadi - last week signalling Jordan is ready to fill the diplomatic void following the breakdown of Israel-PLO negotiations unsuccessfully conducted during the last 25 years. The PLO refuses to negotiate on Trump’s plan.
Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton has supported Israel-Jordan negotiations over the 'West Bank' since 2009.
Walid resurrected Jordan’s long-dormant claims to sovereignty in the disputed territories that completely undermine those of the PLO:
“First of all, the unity of the West Bank with the East Bank was officially and constitutionally adopted on 24 of April 1950. No one disputes this fact. The Constitution of the country at the time was the 1952 Constitution, which stipulated in no uncertain terms that no part of the Kingdom shall be ceded, period. This provision makes the 1988 decision to cut off all legal and administrative relations between the two banks stopping short of ceding the West Bank to any side whatsoever. Any other interpretation of the 1988 political decision is absolutely untenable constitutionally.”
Bolton himself has supported Israel-Jordan negotiations over the West Bank since 2009.
Bolton told Eric Shawn on 21 January 2018:
“I hope at some point the Administration recognizes and perhaps it is already quietly – that the two-state solution isn’t going anywhere. If anything I would say to King Abdullah of Jordan – “Be prepared to reassert Jordanian sovereignty over part of the West Bank – negotiate with Israel”. I think that’s a far better outcome than the continued pursuit of a mythical – I believe – unattainable viable Palestinian state”
George Will – an outspoken critic of President Trump - has claimed:
“Bolton will soon be the second-most dangerous American.”
Yet Will himself had written in the Washington Post on 17 April 1987:
“May 14 will be the 30th Anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel, June 6 will be the 20th anniversary of the Six Day War. The West Bank has been held by Israel longer than it had been held by Jordan, the 1967 aggressor, which ever since has presented itself as the aggrieved party. Today, as every day since 1948, the key to peace is direct negotiations between Jordan and Israel, not a committee”
Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been seeking direct negotiations with Jordan for decades – telling the United Nations General Assembly on 11 December 1984:
“Clearly, in Eastern and Western Palestine, there are only two peoples, the Arabs and the Jews. Just as clearly, there are only two states in that area, Jordan and Israel. The Arab State of Jordan, containing some three million Arabs, does not allow a single Jew to live there. It also contains 4/5 of the territory originally allocated by this body's predecessor, the League of Nations, for the Jewish National Home. The other State, Israel, has a population of over four million, of which one sixth is Arab. It contains less than 1/5 of the territory originally allocated to the Jews under the Mandate.... It cannot be said, therefore, that the Arabs of Palestine are lacking a state of their own. The demand for a second Palestinian Arab State in Western Palestine, and a 22nd Arab State in the world, is merely the latest attempt to push Israel back into the hopelessly vulnerable armistice lines of 1949.”
Two peoples – the Arabs and the Jews - need two states – not three - in former Palestine.
Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article—is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “DryBones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog