Palestine – Accentuate The Positive Eliminate the Negative…writes David Singer

July 8, 2013 by David Singer
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Jordan’s Minister of Culture Barakat Awajan recently received Palestinian Minister of Culture Anwar Abu Aisha in Amman and reportedly took the opportunity to highlight these fundamental facts…

“Jordan and Palestine are joined by one culture and connected by blood, geography and sacred ties.”

As the wreckage of the two-state solution continues to pile up – Awajan was reminding the PLO that alternatives exist to the creation of a second Arab State in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan.

Lest one think this most recent Jordanian affirmation of common identity and heritage is not shared by the Palestinians – a similar statement  was expressed by the late PLO leader Yasser Arafat to Der Spiegel in 1986:

“Jordanians and Palestinians are indeed one people. No one can divide us. We have the same fate.”

Arafat and Ajawan are only two of many Palestinian and Jordanian power brokers who have made similar statements in the intervening years.

Their shared common identity has developed as a result of personal and business relationships formed by them whilst living on either side of the Jordan River in an  area that had been under Ottoman rule for 400 years – until it became a single territorial unit in 1920 within which the Jewish National Home was to be reconstituted pursuant to the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine.

This territorial entity remained unified until 1946 when 78% of that territory was granted its independence by Great Britain to become known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan – whilst the remaining 22% remained under Great Britain’s control as Mandatory until handed back to the United Nations in May 1948 with the goal of the Jewish Home unachieved.

The Arab populations on both sides of the River were reunited again in 1948 following Transjordan’s invasion and occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the 1948 War of Independence – when all Jews living there were forcibly expelled.

On 1 December 1948 the Palestinian National Conference in Jericho decided to place the West Bank under the sovereignty of Transjordan – which in 1949 then changed its name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

On 11 April 1950 elections were held for a new Jordanian Parliament in which the West Bank Arabs were equally represented

On 24 April 1950 the Parliament unanimously passed the following resolution

“In the expression of the people’s faith in the efforts spent by His Majesty, Abdullah, toward attainment of natural aspirations, and basing itself on the right of self-determination and on the existing de facto position between Jordan and Palestine and their national, natural and geographic unity and their common interests and living space, Parliament, which represents both sides of the Jordan, resolves this day and declares:

First, its support for complete unity between the two sides of the Jordan and their union into one State, which is the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, at whose head reigns King Abdullah Ibn al Husain, on a basis of constitutional representative government and equality of the rights and duties of all citizens….”

Identical citizenship rights were conferred on the population of this newly created entity.

This territorial union was to continue uninterrupted until Jordan’s loss of the West Bank and East Jerusalem to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

Jordanian citizenship however continued to be enjoyed by West Bank Arab residents until 31 July 1988 – when Jordan’s King Hussein announced the severance of all administrative and legal ties with the West Bank.

In the past 18 months – as the Oslo peace process has started to disintegrate – increasing talk of a confederation between Jordan and the PLO has surfaced.

On 17 June Middle East Monitor reported:

With regards to the Palestinian issue, the king said that Jordan will continue to support the Palestinian people until they achieve their full rights and establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital. Talk of a confederation is, he suggested, “premature and out of context”, as it would need the state to be established before it could even be discussed.

Events in Egypt and Syria indicate that the King does not have the luxury of time to see if the explosive issue of Palestinian statehood can be resolved between Israel and the PLO – which is as far away as ever since it was first proposed twenty years ago.

Jordan – 70% of whose population or descendants was born in western Palestine – now needs to consider restoring Jordanian citizenship to their West Bank Arab kinsfolk as existed between 1950-1988.

95% of the West Bank Arab population live in Areas A and B under the total administrative control of the PLO.

Reaffirming and restoring the common kinship of blood, geography and sacred ties between Jordanians and Palestinians by bestowing Jordanian citizenship rights on those coming under the PLO umbrella could be achieved reasonably quickly in talks with the PLO.

It would signify further progress to match the signing of an agreement in March by King Abdullah and PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas reaffirming Jordan’s custodianship of the Holy Places in Jerusalem

In the immortal words of Johnny Mercer:

You’ve got to accentuate the positive

Eliminate the negative

And latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with Mister In-Between

You’ve got to spread joy up to the maximum

Bring gloom down to the minimum

Have faith or pandemonium’s

Liable to walk upon the scene

Pandemonium or progress are the stark choices now confronting the PLO and Jordan.

Comments

4 Responses to “Palestine – Accentuate The Positive Eliminate the Negative…writes David Singer”
  1. Gil Solomon says:

    David,

    Here you go again.

    Further progress you say, but I say progress in what?

    The fact that Abdullah and Abbas are playing nice to each other seems to make you hysterical with joy. You think it progress that both Arabs reaffirm “Jordan’s custodianship of the Holy Places in Jerusalem” is something Israel in particular and Jews in general should jump up and down with joy about?

    I would remind you that the only “holy” place for Arabs is in Mecca.

    The Palestinians play soccer and have barbeques on the Temple Mount, an area which, but for a foolish halachic ruling following the 1967 war (a ruling which is not universally supported today), Israel granted control of this holiest of JEWISH sites to the Muslim Waqf.

    Arab schoolchildren are being taught the vilest hate towards Jews ensuring the next generation of Jew haters are alive and well and you think it progress that one Arab talks to another!

    Your final conclusion that “Pandemonium or progress are the stark choices now confronting the PLO and Jordan” is the most absurd thing I have ever read.

    And as for the wishful thinking quotes (spreading joy to the maximum etc.), I would remind you that we are talking here about the Middle East where harsh reality rules the day.

    • David says:

      Gil

      In negative mode again as usual.

      Do I think it is progress when one Arab talks to another? Yes – especially when they are talking about sharing something that one previously claimed was his and his alone.

      What is your objection to Jordan reinstating citizenship to people who enjoyed that status between 1950-1988?

      What is your objection to my suggestion of a binational state in the West Bank and Jordan to replace the demands of separate states in those areas and restore the status quo that existed between 1950-67 so far as is now possible given the changed circumstances on the ground?

      Are you interested in seeing conflict perpetuated or ended?

      Come up with a better proposal if you can

      As my heading states – Accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    Fine, let the Arabs west of the Jordan river regain their Jordanian citizenship. That would enable them to move from Judea and Samaria into Jordan. Further, let the “Palestinian” diaspora, also be granted Jordanian citizenship. That way, they could move either into Jordan or migrate to other Arab countries and as citizens of Jordan, they could work in all occupations and purchase properties, something they are denied while considered refugees. Moreover, through gaining Jordanian citizenship, they would cease to be refugees and UNWRA could be wound up.

    But apart from the intransigence and mohammmedan solidarity in calling for a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital – something they’ll get when hell freezes over – why should Jordanian citizens living in Judea and Samaria also have political control of those areas. They can have self-government and Israel must have the right to repatriate to Jordan those of them who abuse the privileges granted by the Jewish state to demiliterised enclaves where 95% of them reside.

    Now that would be a win-win-win all round. The Arabs living in cities in Judea and Samaria could stay where are (if they behave), Jordan could have an increased population without having to absorb a couple of million of its citizens who are hostile to the monarchy and Israel would retain control of its ancestral lands necessary for its security, while at the same time being freed of administrative responsibilities toward those Arabs.

    • david says:

      Paul

      Any solution that vests sovereignty of 100% of the West Bank in Israeli hands will not be acceptable to the Arabs.

      My solution – that could see sovereignty in about 85-90% of the West Bank vested in the bi-national state of Jordan might be acceptable to the Arabs.

      Only negotiations can see whether such a solution is possible.

      The chances of success are far better than the failed negotiations that have gone on for the last twenty years.

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