Farouk Kaddoumi, a veteran PLO official, dropped a political bombshell Wednesday with a call for “returning” the West Bank to Jordan.
Kaddoumi, who is
based in Tunisia, said he supported the idea of a federation or confederation
between the West Bank and Jordan. His remarks, which came during an interview
with the London-based Al- Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, are the first of their kind
to be voiced by a senior PLO figure in decades.
Kaddoumi is one of the
founders of Fatah, and for decades served as head of the PLO’s “political
department.” He is one of the few PLO leaders who refused to move from Tunisia
to the Palestinian territories after the signing of the Oslo Accords, which he
had strongly opposed.
Kaddoumi told the newspaper, during an interview in
his office in the Tunisian capital, that giving the West Bank back to Jordan
would be a “positive move.” He added, nevertheless, that the Palestinians should
not drop their demand for a right to return to Israel proper.
launched our revolution for all of Palestine, and that’s why we need to be very
cautious,” Kaddoumi said.
“We must safeguard our people’s right to
return,” he stressed. “We must insist on the right of return for all refugees,
because this is the minimum that we could accept.”
Kaddoumi launched a
scathing attack on the Palestinian Authority and its president, Mahmoud Abbas,
for abandoning the armed struggle against Israel and failing the Palestinian
“Undoubtedly, the Palestinian Authority has reached a dead end,”
he stated, adding that the peace process had failed because Israel was seeking
to dictate its terms and conditions to the Palestinians.
economic hardships in the West Bank, Kaddoumi said that Palestinians’ lives had become a tragedy due to “widespread starvation and harsh conditions.”
He also said the Palestinians had lost hope of reaching an agreement with Israel
that would ensure them their minimal rights.
“Unfortunately, Israel has
seized most of the lands of the West Bank and the only way left for us is the
national resistance,” he said. “Regrettably, the Palestinian Authority and its
president do not want any kind of resistance after they got rid of the fighters
who say that resistance is the only want to liberate the land.”
acknowledged that Fatah had been weakened due to its failure to reform and
return to the path of armed struggle. He also slammed Abbas for “cutting my
salary.” The PA president made the decision several years ago following harsh
criticism against him by Kaddoumi.
He also scoffed at Abbas’s renewed
statehood bid at the United Nations, saying the PLO had obtained membership in
the international organization in 1974. In addition, he noted that the UN had
recognized the Palestinian state declared by Yasser Arafat in 1988, adding that
105 countries had since lent their own recognition.
“By going back to the
UN, Abbas is falsely creating the impression that he is making achievements that
were already achieved,” he said.
Kaddoumi’s remarks about returning the
West Bank to Jordan apparently came in response to recent statements made by
Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal, who served as crown prince between 1965 and
At a meeting with Palestinians in Amman, the prince said the
territories of the West Bank were actually part of the Hashemite Kingdom. He
added that the two-state solution was now irrelevant.
renounced its claim to the West Bank in 1988 when the late King Hussein
announced his kingdom was cutting off its administrative and legal ties to the