The revolts sweeping the Arab world have put Israel in a “difficult position,”
and the Hashemite Kingdom will never allow Jordan to become the one and only
Palestinian state, the Jordanian monarch said Sunday.
“Jordan and the
future of Palestine are stronger than Israel. It is the Israelis who are worried
today,” King Abdullah II told a closed meeting of Jordanian intellectuals and
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that during a recent trip he made to the US, an Israeli intellectual told him he
believed the so-called Arab Spring served Israeli interests.
‘On the contrary, you are today in a more difficult position than before,’” the
king recalled saying, without elaborating.
The language was unusually
blunt for Abdullah, head of the Arab state with the closest relations with
Israel – if often covert – for most of the latter’s history.
reported two weeks ago that Abdullah had counseled Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to reconsider the upcoming statehood bid at
the UN. A unilateral declaration, Abdullah reportedly said, would mean making
the PA the sole representative of the Palestinian people rather than the PLO,
which claims to represent eight million Palestinians throughout the
Such a move would mean forgoing the Palestinians’ “right of
return” to areas now within Israel, the king reportedly said. Sunday’s comments
may have represented an attempt to smooth over Jordanian- Palestinian
“We know our direction, and our path is clear in our quest to
protect Palestine’s future, and to safeguard our rights when the future of
Jerusalem and the refugees’ right of return are negotiated,” the monarch said,
according to the English-language Jordan Times
“We support the
Palestinians’ right to establish their state, and our position has not – and
will not – change. Therefore, the substitute homeland option should at all times
be excluded from any discussion.
“Jordan will never be a substitute land
for anyone,” Abdullah said. “It makes no sense.... We have an army and we are
ready to fight for our homeland and the future of Jordan. We should speak loudly
and not allow such an idea to remain in the minds of some of us. Jordan
is Jordan, and Palestine is Palestine.”
The idea of Jordan as Palestine
has been in circulation for decades in various forms. Jordan occupied the West
Bank from 1948 to 1967, and the Allon Plan drafted in the wake of the Six Day
War envisioned the West Bank and the Gaza Strip carved up between Israel and
Jordan. The plan was later shelved after Abdullah’s father, King Hussein,
dismissed it as unacceptable to the rest of the Arab world, and Israeli
settlement activity later rendered its boundaries unworkable.
Jordan relinquished its claim to the West Bank, vesting authority over it to the
PLO and nullifying West Bank Palestinians’ Jordanian citizenship. The 1993 Oslo
Accords that returned the PLO to the West Bank and Gaza meant the “Jordanian
option” was all but forgotten by most people.
Over the past decade, amid
dissatisfaction with the failure of the Oslo process, some Israeli experts and
lawmakers have revived plans for a Jordanian solution to the Israeli-Palestinian
At the opening session of the World Summit on Counter-Terrorism
in Herzliya on Sunday, Israel Beiteinu MK Uzi Landau and former National
Security Council chief Uzi Dayan each suggested West Bank Palestinians be given
some degree of autonomy within the kingdom.
Meanwhile on Monday, reports
emerged that organizers on Facebook are calling for a “million-man march” on the
Israeli Embassy in Amman on Thursday.
Mimicking similar gatherings in
Cairo, organizers said protesters will try to break into the fortified embassy
and take down the Israeli flag. One thousand people have already “liked” the
Facebook page promoting the action.
“Our interlocutors in Jordan are
aware of the sensitivities,” an Israeli official told Yediot Aharonot
. “We hope
they will find a way to prevent violence against Israeli diplomats in
Last week, the head of Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood praised
Turkey’s decision to expel the Israeli ambassador, and called on Jordan and
Egypt to do the same.
“Turkey’s decision to expel the Israeli ambassador
is a model of foreign policy, reflecting national interest and dignity and not
accepting normalization,” Hammam Said said, according to Egypt’s Youm7 magazine.
The Islamic Action Front, Jordan’s largest opposition bloc in parliament, is a
branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.