Palestine – Jordan Gets Jittery Again…writes David Singer

March 3, 2014 by David Singer
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Jordan has become increasingly jittery after US Secretary of State John Kerry’s framework agreement for peace missed meeting the second deadline for its release on 21 February – having initially been promised by the end of January.

Now US Ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro has let slip at a meeting of the Jewish Agency Board of Governors in Jerusalem on 24 February that the US hopes to present the framework agreement before the end of April.

The idea behind the framework agreement had been posited by a Senior State Department Official during a teleconference on 2 January:

“As you will have seen from the press, and indeed President Obama has spoken about the idea of establishing a framework for negotiations, that’s what we’re trying to achieve here – agreement on a framework that would serve as guidelines for the permanent status negotiations and that would address all of the core issues.

We are not coming in with an American plan that would be imposed on the parties, but rather we want to have a detailed consultation with them about these ideas that have been generated as a result of the negotiations between the parties themselves, and see whether they can serve as gap bridges which could lead to this agreement on the framework for permanent status negotiations.

I want to stress, as we always do but it never seems quite to convince doubters, particularly, I think, in the region, that this is not an effort to achieve an interim agreement. It is an effort to provide agreed guidelines for a permanent status agreement, that is to say a full and final peace treaty between the parties. And that purpose here is, in effect, if you like, to – for the Secretary to climb with the two leaders to the top of the hill and be able to share with them the view of what’s on the other side, what peace will look like in terms of all of the core issues that have to be resolved between them. And once they have a shared vision of what that will look like, then it will become easier to finalize the details, and there will be a lot of details in the actual permanent status agreement itself.”

Shapiro admitted Kerry had run into a lot of trouble climbing that hill whilst attempting to persuade Israel and the PLO to agree on the framework’s terms:

“It would involve both sides being willing to negotiate on the basis of a framework that contains things in it that are uncomfortable for them [and about which] they may have reservations.”

The framework, he said, “is very detailed.” At this point in the process, “everyone fights over every word as they should because the stakes are very high.”

King Abdullah II of Jordan is nervous at the possible outcome and could now be positioning himself to take part in these negotiations – from which he had always previously sought to distance himself.

Former Jordanian Prime Minister – Marouf al-Bahit – told Al-Hayyat, a London based Arabic- language news source – on 3 January:

“Jordan needs to be present and involved in all future negotiations.”

Al- Bahit – currently the deputy head of the King’s Council – an advisory board closest to King Abdullah – continued:

“It is unthinkable that Jordan should sit on the side, as an observer. Jordan should join the negotiating table immediately – since it is bound to be the one paying the price of the Israeli and American positions.”

Al-Bahit’s position did not represent the prevailing opinion in Amman – according to the article. One senior official – who spoke on condition of anonymity – reportedly told Al-Hayyat:

“Jordan would welcome the decisions sealed by the negotiating process – “without any need whatsoever to sit at the negotiating table.” Amman did stress, however, that it would get involved if – and only if – the talks directly harmed their interests, specifically Jordan’s borders.”

Abdullah cannot ignore – just seven weeks later – that the further delay in releasing the framework agreement could possibly lead to the total breakdown in negotiations between Israel and the PLO – which could directly harm Jordan’s national interests.

Abdullah is now in the identical position he found himself on 11 October 2006 – when he told the Khaleej Times:

“I really think that by the first half of 2007 we might wake up to reality and realise that the two-state solution is no longer attainable. I think we are really running out of time . Physically on the ground and geographically, I think there is less and less of a West Bank and Jerusalem to talk about.”

He then warned:

“We want to go back to the 1967 borders. We are talking about that today. Are we going to talk about that tomorrow though? This is the danger.”

Abdullah recognised then that compromise would inevitably involve Israel retaining part of the West Bank – notwithstanding the PLO demanding it all.

With a negotiated two-state solution likely to fall by the wayside despite Kerry’s desperate efforts to keep it alive – Abdullah is clearly aware that with less of the West Bank to talk about in 2014 than in 2006 – the PLO might attempt to overthrow Abdullah – as it unsuccessfully tried to do in 1970 with Abdullah’s father – King Hussein .

Whilst Abdullah warned this week that “Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine” – the PLO Charter – and history – ominously state otherwise.

Jordan needs a seat at that negotiating table – immediately.

 

David Singer is a Sydney Lawyer and Foundation Member of the International Analysts Network

Comments

3 Responses to “Palestine – Jordan Gets Jittery Again…writes David Singer”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Time for me to beg to differ.
    Indeed, Jordan has not interest in Jerusalem any more as the “buffer” new entity, concocted as it was aparently in the Kremlin or wherever, is now the actual “pretender”. Need I remind that Jordan does have a capital city already.
    The involvement of other state entities or collections of states ( European Union) cannot be excluded under any circumstances. ALL international political crises attract “organically” a number of states, either from the close proximity of the conflict or larger numbers based on extended concerns and/or interwoven relationships either religious, economic or generally political.
    In the case of our conflict, the strategy employed from the outset by the Palestinian camp to create an international crisis out of a MINUSCULE regional issue, involving at first only a tiny demographic and an almost invisible territorial claim, has worked perhaps beyond the wildest palestinian dreams.
    The efficiency with which the palestinian strategists can now attract and involve almost ANY type of elemnts from ANY quarters into their “struggle” is unprecedented. Look at what sort of political constructs – Scandinavian !!!-, what intellectual bastions – famous American and English universities – personalities – from rock stars to the greatest scientific minds -, artsits – from classical musicians to Hollywodd greats – are all baracking for an entity which has NOTHING to do with ethical decency or sophisticated culture and learning traditions. The virus of BDS is the best example of an international epidemic called Palestine !!! And yourse guys reckons that USA should but out !!!!!

  2. david says:

    Paul

    Would it were that simple.

    There is an issue of Jewish and Arab claims to sovereignty in Judea,Samaria and Gaza (and East Jerusalem – the world would argue) that needs to be resolved.

    Israel can tell everyone to rack off – but the problem will not go away.

    The obvious parties to resolve this territorial dispute are Israel and Jordan – the two successor states to the Mandate for Palestine and the last two countries to have occupied these areas between 1948-2014.

    Get them together and they will surely come up with a solution within the framework of their existing signed 1994 peace treaty.

    If they fail – then they will have missed yet another opportunity to add to the long list that they have rejected since 1922 – with what result?.

    The two-state solution of Oslo and the Bush Roadmap was always destined to hit a brick wall.

    Time for Obama and Kerry to seek attention to their battered reputations and look to Jordan and Israel pulling them out of the quicksand into which they are rapidly sinking.

  3. Paul Winter says:

    I beg to differ, David. Jordan has no place in negotiations on territories it has renounced. Your suggestion of Jordanian involvement in discussions over Judea and Samaria is incomprehensible.

    Jordan is Palestine was and is a reasonable position to take. But Abdullah’s people are 60% to 70% Palestinian Arab and the Hashemites are a Bedouin imposition; the Hashemites want no more power challengers in their regime.

    In the mean-time the only valid partners to any negotiations over the disposal of Jewish lands are Israel and the gang that is supposed to represent them. It is not a Jordanian matter, nor an Arab/mohammedan matter nor a matter for the USA, NATO or the UN.

    The situation is a difficult one. The more parties that are involved the harder it becomes. Israel should thank all of its helpful “friends” and tell them to butt out. It can then make peace with the local Arabs or impose it. And as far as I can see, Kerry, Obama etc could make better use of their time in the Ukraine, or Afghanistan, something the Knesset ought to suggest to the all wise mountain climbing peace-makers.

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