Palestinian Authority officials confirmed Thursday that they were studying the
possibility of establishing a confederation with Jordan, but stressed that this
would take place only after the creation of an independent Palestinian state
within the pre-1967 lines.
The officials were commenting on a report in
the London-based Al-Quds al- Arabi newspaper that claimed that PA President
Mahmoud Abbas had asked senior Fatah leaders to prepare for the formation of a
confederation between a Palestinian state and Jordan.
The newspaper said
that Abbas has instructed his advisors to provide him with “detailed strategic
reports about the best way to conduct negotiations with Jordan about reviving
the confederation plan.”
Abbas reportedly met with seven top Fatah and PA
figures and discussed with them the idea, the report said, adding that the PA
president had asked that the meeting remain confidential.
quoted an informed Palestinian source as saying that Abbas told participants
that the confederation plan would come soon “and we must be prepared for
Jordan and the PA are scheduled to launch talks on their future
relations on February 21, the report revealed.
On Saturday, the Fatah
Central Committee is expected to discuss the confederation plan during a meeting
in Ramallah, according to the source.
Jordanian politicians quoted Abbas
as saying that the Palestinian state would not be able to survive without
forging a confederation with Jordan.
Abbas hinted that he discussed the
idea with Jordan’s King Abdullah, when the latter visited Ramallah earlier this
Abbas’s rapprochement with Jordan is the result of a
Saudi-Qatari-Turkish alliance that backs Hamas and ignores the PA, the
Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said in
response that the confederation idea would be discussed only after the
establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
Abu Rudaineh said that
the idea was first discussed in 1988 and the two sides agreed that when a
Palestinian state is established this option would be on the table.
said that any decision taken by the PA leadership would be brought before the
Palestinians for approval through a referendum.
PLO Executive Committee
member Wasel Abu Yusef said that the confederation plan was just a “study”
during the current phase.
Abu Yusef said that any talk about the
confederation plan now would hinder efforts to establish an independent
Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines “because Israel is hoping that a
Palestinian state would be part of Jordan.”
Any confederation would be
announced only after a Palestinian state is established, he added.
is happening now is only a discussion and a study about future options of a
Diplomatic sources would not comment on the
Herb Keinon contributed to this report.