The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) threat to refuse to negotiate with Israel unless President Trump withdraws his recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel could see Jordan replacing the PLO as Israel’s negotiating partner to end the 100 years-old Arab-Jewish conflict.
This threat – unless unconditionally revoked – would give Trump the opportunity to consign the PLO to the political wilderness by inviting Jordan to step in and negotiate with Israel over Trump’s eagerly-anticipated “ultimate deal”.
Jordan-Israel negotiations might offer Jordan the opportunity to recover part of Judea and Samaria (“West Bank”) annexed by Jordan in 1950 – albeit illegally – but subsequently lost to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War (legally termed “disputed territory”).
Should Jordan buck at entering into such negotiations – some 60% of the disputed territory - under Israel’s full administrative and security control since the 1995 Oslo Accords and containing just 5% of the West Bank’s entire Arab population (“Area C”) - could be annexed by Israel.
PLO-Israel negotiations over the last twenty-five years – with United Nations, UNESCO and European Union backing – aimed at creating a 22nd Arab state in the disputed territory for the first time ever in recorded history - have failed abysmally.
Such a State was an artificially-contrived creation that could never be justified on historic, geographic or demographic grounds. It had actually been rejected by successive Arab leaderships on many occasions since first being proposed by the 1937 Peel Commission.
Joint 1994 Nobel Peace Prize winners – Israeli leaders Shimon Peres and Yitzchak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat – all understood Jordan’s pivotal role in ending the Jewish-Arab conflict:
1.Jordan is the major part (78%) of the Palestinian Arabs’ homeland according to article 2 of the PLO Charter.
Farouk Kadoumi - Head of the Political Department of the PLO – reinforced this reality - telling Newsweek on 14 March 1977:
“Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people.”
2.Peres declared on 31 August 1978:
“Jordan is also Palestine… I’m against two Arab countries and against another Palestinian country, against an Arafat state. Today 50 percent of the inhabitants of Jordan are Palestinians and that is the Palestinian state…
Peres backed this up - telling the Jewish Telegraph on April 19, 1991:
“It is not obstinacy to regard the populations of Jordan, the West Bank and Gaza as having greater similarities than differences. The Jordan River is not deep enough to turn into a knife blade serving to cut one piece of territory into three slices. Most of Jordan’s population are Palestinians: the residents of the West Bank are Jordanian citizens and Jordan has distributed tens of thousands of passports to residents in the Gaza Strip. Jordan is therefore an existing State. It has an army. There is therefore no need to set up another State, another army.
3.Yitzchak Rabin told The Australian newspaper on May 27, 1985:
“One tiny State between Israel and Jordan will solve nothing. It will be a time bomb.”
Rabin’s solution to end the conflict:
“… the Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the Jordan River there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees.”
Jordan-Israel negotiations on the political future of the disputed territory open up options to resolve the Arab-Jewish conflict never before considered.
If Trump’s Jerusalem Declaration helps bring such negotiations about - then President Trump could well succeed where all other American Presidents before him have failed.
Taking on US President Trump could herald the PLO’s political demise after 54 years of failed leadership.