East, W. Bank unity raised in Jordan

Issue mentioned for 1st time since 1988 renouncement of territory.

jordanian parliament 248.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
jordanian parliament 248.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
More than two decades after former Jordanian king Hussein renounced his country's claim to the West Bank, a Jordanian official referred on Tuesday to a unified Jordanian state on both sides of the Jordan river at a ceremony presided over by Jordanian King Abdullah and attended by more than a thousand guests and dignitaries, according to a Wednesday report by al-Quds al-Arabi.
Taher al-Masri, head of the Jordanian Senate, spoke at a ceremony commemorating the country's independence day and reportedly referred to the emergence of a "union" on both banks of the "holy Jordan river" - though apparently not a political one.
Instead, he was quoted as hailing pan-Arab and pan-Islamic unity and speaking out against the "isolationism" that led to the cultivation of separate cultural identities on each side of the river.
Nearly half the Jordan's 6 million people are of Palestinian origin, and Jordan fears that if Palestinians become the majority, it will disrupt the delicate demographic balance.
Abdullah's father Hussein renounced Jordan's claim to the territory in 1998, and al-Masri's comments mark the first reference by a high-ranking Jordanian official to the issue since then.
In April, Abdullah cited Israel's "actions on the ground" as a cause for concern during an interview with the Wall Street Journal, adding that relations between Jerusalem and Amman had reached an all-time low.
Abdullah stated that he believed Jordan had been better off economically prior to the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
The Jordanian king has also warned in the past that a war could erupt in the Middle East as soon as July if Israel continues to reject the Arab peace initiative. “If we hit the summer and there’s no active process, there’s a very good chance for conflict – and nobody wins when it comes to that,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.