King Abdullah's unfortunate intransigence

The king must realize that the only solution is redrawing the border of the two successor States to the British Mandate. Op-ed.

David Singer ,

Abdullah's intransigence: Dry Bones
Abdullah's intransigence: Dry Bones
Y. Kirschen

King Abdullah’s continuing attempt to exclude Jordan from being part of any two-state solution remains the major obstacle to possibly ending the 100 years old unresolved Arab-Jewish conflict.

The King’s intransigent position came in this exchange with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this week:

Zakaria: Dore Gold, an influential adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu, recently said, Jordan needs to start thinking of itself as the Palestinian state. In other words, there is a two-state solution, the Palestinian state is Jordan, I think the implication would be, of course, you have 60-70 percent Palestinian Arabs, you could absorb the Palestinian in the 'West Bank'. This has been touted before, but here you have a fairly influential Israeli saying it. What is your reaction?

King: Well, again, that type of rhetoric is nothing new, and basically, those people have agendas that they want to do at the expense of others. Jordan is Jordan. We have a mixed society from different ethnic and religious backgrounds. I would maybe contest the percentage in the figures that you have mentioned, but it is our country. The Palestinians do not want to be in Jordan; they want their lands, they want their football team, they want their flag to fly above their houses.”

King Abdullah ignored Jordan’s chequered origins in asserting:

  • “Jordan is Jordan”,
  • "it is our country” and
  • "the Palestinians do not want to be in Jordan”

The following historic, geographic and demographic realities contradict King Abdullah’s remarks:

  • Jordan – then called Transjordan - comprised 78% of the territory of former Palestine designated in the 1920-1948 Mandate for Palestine (British Mandate).
  • Transjordan only became an independent state in 1946
  • Abdullah’s great-grandfather and Transjordan’s first ruler - King Abdullah I - told a meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on 12 April 1948:

“Palestine and Transjordan are one, for Palestine is the coastline and Transjordan the hinterland of the same country”

  • Israel achieved its independence in May 1948 in 17% of the territory comprised in the British Mandate.

  • Transjordan was unified with Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem into one territorial entity and renamed Jordan in 1950 after Transjordan had conquered those areas in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War – which lasted until their loss to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

  • Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem were designated “the West Bank of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan” in the founding 1964 Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Charter – whilst regional sovereignty was not claimed by the PLO.

  • The 1964 PLO Charter asserted that “Palestine with its boundaries at the time of the British Mandate is a regional indivisible unit.”

  • The revised 1968 PLO Charter confirmed that “Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit”.

  • Arab residents of Judea and Samaria were Jordanian citizens between 1950 and 1988

Abdullah’s uncle – Prince Hassan – told the Jordanian National Assembly on 2 February 1970:

Palestine is Jordan and Jordan is Palestine, there is one people and one land, with one history and one and the same fate”

  • The PLO unsuccessfully tried to seize power in Jordan in 1970

  • Prime PLO political strategist – Abu Iyad – declared in Near East Report on 8 January 1990:

“All those who tried in the past and are still trying to create divisions between the Jordanian and Palestinian people have failed. We indeed constitute one people”

Abdullah ignores these long-standing realities at his peril.

Abdullah is deluding himself in denying the role Jordan must inevitably play in achieving the long sought-after two-state solution: Redrawing the international border between Jordan and Israel - the two successor States to the British Mandate – allocating sovereignty between them in Judea Samaria and Gaza - without creating another State.

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.

David Singer is an Australian lawyer who is active in Zionist community organizations in that country. He founded the "Jordan is Palestine" Committee in 1979.