Palestine – Jordan in Abbas’s Sights?

November 30, 2011 by David Singer
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Jordan’s King Abdullah must now be very concerned at the prospect of the Hashemites possibly seeing an end to their 90 years uninterrupted rule in Jordan…writes David Singer.

This can only be the rational explanation for the King’s sudden helicopter flight to Ramallah to meet PLO and Fatah head Mahmoud Abbas last week and his announcement that Hamas chief Khaled Mashaal will visit Jordan for discussions within the next two weeks.

With negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority at a dead end, reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas at a standstill, Mubarak toppled in Egypt, Gadaffi shot dead in Libya and Assad facing removal in Syria – King Abdullah is keen to make sure that neither the PLO or Hamas have any designs for taking over Jordan.

Mashaal owes his life to the swift action of Abdullah’s father – the late King Hussein – after a bungled attempt by Israel to assassinate Mashaal im 1996. Getting Israel to swiftly reveal the antidote for a deadly poison injected into Mashaal – in return for the release of the Israeli agents caught in the act – is certainly something for which Mashaal will be greatly indebted to the Hashemites. No doubt King Abdullah will be calling in the favour when they meet. Mashaal is more than likely to assure the King that he has enough on his plate in Gaza.

The Jordanian Islamists will foment a few demonstrations but Mashaal will make sure the King will not be dethroned and sent packing.

Abbas is a different kettle of fish.

He heads an organization that is dedicated to liberating and reuniting into one indivisible territorial unit what is today called Israel, Gaza, the West Bank and Jordan – a goal that has remained unchanged and unmodified since the promulgation of the PLO Charter in 1964.

Jordan’s relation with the PLO has always been uneasy – ever since Yasser Arafat tried to takeover Jordan in 1970 resulting in thousands of dead and wounded on both sides. The PLO remains absolutely committed to its Charter. If the PLO sticks to its guns and refuses to negotiate with Israel – then frustration might well see the PLO again turning its sights on Jordan.

Israel is also very concerned to ensure the continued stability of the Hashemite regime and has given King Abdullah the clearest signals of such intention.

Firstly Israel’s Foreign Minister – Avigdor Lieberman –  stated that:

  • “regional turbulence” is bringing Islamist parties to power “that all share an anti-Israel message.”
  • “Instability in the Middle East is not good for anyone,” he said, emphasizing that it is “a major danger for Jordan.”
  • “Those who say that Jordan is Palestine are mostly harming Israel,” Lieberman added. “That would create a continuous Palestinian state which would endanger us. It’s in our interest for this not to happen.
  • “Stability in Jordan is in Israel’s interest.”
  • Our shared border is the longest and quietest. Both sides enjoy the benefits of peace and economic cooperation.”

Lieberman’s warning to Abbas to not meddle in Jordan’s internal affairs was clear and uncompromising.

Although Jordan does comprise 78% of former Palestine – any thought that an attempt would be made by the PLO to reunite it at any time or in any way under PLO rule with any part of the remaining 22% would cross a red line that would be resisted by Israel.

Lieberman’s statement of support was followed by a visit to King Abdullah by Israel’s President Shimon Peres on 28 November.

A news release issued by Media and Communications Directorate of the Royal Hashemite Court declared:

“The King emphasized that the end of the decades-long Palestinian-Israeli conflict can only be achieved through resolving all final-status issues, foremost of which are refugees, borders and Jerusalem, leading to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on 1967 lines, with East Jerusalem as its capital, living side by side with Israel in peace and security.”

Interestingly, eighteen years of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have not got to first base in resolving these outstanding issues. Yet, agreed solutions to refugees and Jerusalem are set out in the 1994 peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. A solution to redrawing the boundary between Israel and Jordan so as to return to Jordan the major part of the West Bank it lost to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War could be achieved with relative ease in direct negotiations with Israel.

Abbas needs to get back to negotiating with Israel without delay if he does not wish to see yet another opportunity slip through the fingers of the Palestinian Arabs because of stubborn and intransigent leaders.

Should Abbas fail to do so – King Abdullah will be waiting on the sidelines to step into his shoes and negotiate with Israel.

No doubt King Abdullah will strongly resist being pressured into re-occupying a large part of the West Bank. But if his failure to negotiate with Israel could mean the loss of Israel’s continuing support of the Hashemite regime – then a change of heart could be reasonably anticipated.

One wild card that could let Abdullah off the hook would be the return of Abbas to the negotiating table with Israel.

In this regard, President Obama holds one trump card – the release of Jonathan Pollard from prison after 26 years of imprisonment in return for Israel imposing a fixed period during which it will cease building houses in the West Bank. Talks between American Jewish leaders with Vice President Biden taking place now could possibly lead to such a proposal.

President Obama also needs a boost to his falling popularity. Releasing Pollard may be the bitter medicine he needs to take with the Presidential election season starting to hot up.

All in all – some interesting times ahead in the next three months.

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

Comments

19 Responses to “Palestine – Jordan in Abbas’s Sights?”
  1. ben says:

    Hello Singer

    Setlemnt blocks or units is a matter of detail. Israel has been expanding settlements that is the point. The “Blocks” was a mistake in that instance, but expansion of settlements is true. Do you care to deny tha> Personal abuse can go two ways but I will not use it.

    • david singer says:

      Details do count and I m glad to see you have admitted your mistake. Problem is you keep making mistakes continually that need correcting.

      Of course Israel is expanding existing settlements within land specially set aside to allow such expansion.

      Why should only Jews be prohibited from building in the West BanK?

      Doesn’t that sound a little racist?

    • Paul Winter says:

      Ben on Dec. 1, I pointed out that construction occurs within places where Jews have settled in Judea and Samaria. Why is Jewish buildiing within those towns different from Arab building in Arab settlements? Or why is Jewish building in Judea or Samaria any different from building by Jews or non-Jews in Australia?

      And are “blocks” really a mistake? Is Jewish return to Hebron from which they were expelled by a pogrom a mistake? Is the return to the Etzion Bloc whose defenders were massacred by the Arab Legion a mistake?

      There are two mistakes in your position. One is that any territory gained by force is unacceptable, unless the conquerors are non-Jews. The other is that no Arab/mohammedan is ever to pay any penalty for aggression.

      Unless an Arab has a title to a piece of land, the nation in charge of that land has a right to allocate it to anyone it chooses. Just because people living there make a claim does not give them title. And Jews have a legal right to settle anywhere in Palestine granted to them by the League of Nations, while the Southern Syrians, now brand named Paleatinians, have no legal claim to anything. That the Jewish state did not expel them when it kicked out the Jordanians (and the Egyptians from Gaza) highlights the difference between the Jewish state and its antisemitic enemies.

  2. Cody Flecker says:

    There is no such place called “The West Bank” This is a made up name that refers to nothing. The land in question is either Trans-Jordan, or The State Of Israel.

    In 1948, and again in 1967, Arab armies went to war against The State of Israel. Territory was lost in those two wars mainly from one of the belligerents Trans-Jordan that formed the land mass called by Israel as Judea and Samaria. It never was called the “West Bank” as this area did not exist prior to 1948, or for any other time for that matter.

    My family owns large tracts of land in East Prussia. Unfortunately East Prussia was lost when Germany lost the war (WW2) East Prussia ceased to exist as an entity. However, East Prussia was a real place at one time, where as “The West Bank” is just a figment of someone’s imagination.

    • ben says:

      Removed by censor.

      Hello Cody Flecker. The river Jordan has two banks a left and a right , it flows north to south, therefore it has an east bank and a west bank. The name has gained common usage, call it Palestine west of the river Jordan or what you will, the region and the Palestininas there exist. There was no ‘Australia” before the 18th century. Presto the land tht is now called Australia does not exist!

      • david singer says:

        Ben

        There was no West Bank before 1950. Until then that land was called Judea and Samaria.
        Did you know that?

        The Arabs repeated the trick of the Romans 2000 years earlier by trying to obliterate any trace of a Jewish presence in this area after they had driven out all the Jews who lived there during the 1948 War.

        The con job has not worked in either case.

  3. david singer says:

    Ben

    Another masterpiece of ignoring fact and promulgating fiction.

    Israel placed a moratorium on building in the West Bank for ten months in 2009-2010 and even offered a further three month extension which the Americans did not take up.

    Your mate Abbas refused to talk to Israel for nine months and one week – waiting till the death knell to resume negotiations which he then promptly abandoned soon after.

    Abbas negotiated previously without demanding Israel cease building in the West Bank. Regrettably he interpreted statements made by Obama to mean there was an American bandwagon to halt such building. He showed poor judgement – but that is par for the course with Abbas. He could have had his state in 2008 but let it slip through his fingers.

    Abbas now needs to pull up a chair and negotiate with Netanyahu without any preconditions. If he doesn’t he may soon find King Abdullah of Jordan being invited to do so in his place.

    Do you think it is smart to mislead readers by conveniently forgetting to relate these facts? I certainly don’t.

    • ben says:

      Hello Singer
      The maraotrium was riddled with holes. Existing plans were not stopped for instance. Clearances were speeded up to meet the halt deadline. So the freeze was more nominal than real. However, Abbas has submited a map of Palestine to the Quartret and invited Israel to submit its counter propoasal. Which Israel did not. Building settlements in other people’s land is called robbery and colonisation.
      What can Abbas talk about when the land is being stolen under his feet ? Abas has his own problems of countering Hamas and continuing his collaboration with Israel.

      Here is a example” As Joe Biden visits, Israel unveils plans for New settlements”. NY Tomes, March 8 2010.

      • ben says:

        You seem to forget the fact that Obama had called for a halt on settlements. All he got was a freeze riddled with holes. Abbas had negoiated at Madrid, Oslo, Solo, Hebron, Wye River, Camp David , Taba et al for 17 years. No halt in settlemnt expansion of the wall. he cannot come out openly as a collaborator and lose to Hamas. There is little to negoiate about when the land is being lost at a increasingly rapid pace and Jeruslaem is cut off from the West Bank.

        Apologia for colonisation cannot hide the reality for long. And the tide has turned against hasbara.

        • david singer says:

          Ben

          No new houses were built in the West Bank – where construction had not then begun – for the ten month moratorium.

          It now appears you concede Abbas has not been spurned by Israeli prime ministers and has indeed been negotiating with them for 17 years. Bravo – a breakthrough!

          As for your statement – “Building settlements in other people’s land is called robbery and colonisation” – this shows how little you know.

          The land in question is disputed between Arabs and Jews and presently belongs to no one.

          As a matter of intrenational law the Jewish claim is superior being based on the Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter.

          The last Arab occupier of the West Bank was Jordan which renounced all claims to it in 1988 and purported to assign to the PLO its claim and entitlement which in international law was zilch.

          Claims to final ownership is now being negotiated under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap between Israel and the Palestinian Authority – a johnny come lately.

          Attempting to mislead readers by treating the issue of ownership as done and dusted is just another of your misleading statements that carry no weight whatsoever.

        • Paul Winter says:

          Ben, you are truly impervious to reason or reproval. Both David Singer and I have given you the facts regarding town and farm building in Judea and Samaria. Your constant rave that Jews are stealing “Palestinian” land is as false as it is a fantasy. Your religious adherence to that old, old Arab lie – it was already rejected by the Peel Commission in 1938 – does not stand up to either the facts or any consideration of justice. Land to which people have no title is state land. Until borders are agreed upon Jews can settle on any land under Israeli control. Your lie about Jewish land theft is based on the fiction that some polity called Palestine existed and rapacious, colonising Jews invaded that peaceloving territory and are taking over the land by force. Pure pally BS!! On another level, the followers of HItler’s ally, Amin Husseini who recruited for the Third Reich whose Jew hatred has been rekindled by islamists are not entitiled to any consideration. The British betrayal of the Jews who faught on the side of the allies must not be continued by appeasing supremicist islamofascists.

          • ben says:

            Hello Paul winter wish you could “reason” with the Palestinins whose houses are being demolished and crops destoryed by armed settlers. Perhaps you could place your “reason’ before the ICJ and convince it that settl;ements are legal. Or even Israels great benefactor the US, Obama, Biden and Clinto had to oppose settlements , at least in public.

  4. Paul Winter says:

    First, to correct some details. When the Arab regimes formed the PLO, its aims were the “liberation” of British mandate Palestine, but it excluded Jordan. The emblem of the organisation still covers that territory and includes a sovereign nation which is a member of the UN. Also, while it is easy to talk of political settlements involving no more than lines on a map, handing over control of most of Judea and Samaria to the Bedouin regime unsteadily saddling the Palestian Arabs would be military suicide for Israel because the hills deny terrorists the ability to attack the industrial and population centres of Israel as well as being a line of defence against invaders and a forward warning position for radar.

    Secondly, my thanks to Ben again. Truth is no slander. Abbas is refusing to negotiate. He failed to negotiate when Bibi stopped construction for ten months and then as a condition for refusing to negotiate, he demanded an extension of the freeze. He now makes the utterly stupid demand that Israel should cease to build within its towns and villages; such a demand leads to decline and the death of any such community. And as Norman has pointed out, there has been no new settlement for a decade. The main point is that Israel can build whereever it likes until borders are negotiated and Abbas’ demand pre-empts a treaty and final borders. There is a Roman saying which translates to something like: you would have remained wise, had you remained silent.

  5. ben says:

    If Abdullah is toppled it will be because the Arab revolutions sweeping the region have reached Jordan to end the British installed puppet regime. Neither Mashal nor Abbas can prevent it. And Abbas refusing to negotiage with Israel is a piecae of slander. Israel has not stopped building new settlements during the last three decades. It is talking the division of the pie while eating it.

    • Norman Trubik says:

      Israel has not built new settlements in the West Bank for at least a decade.

      • ben says:

        Very easy to expose such lies. See.

        “Israel ramps up settlement construction pace after Palestine Unesco Bid” Amnesty International 3 November 2011.

        About 2000 new settlement blocks were announced by Israel.

        • ben says:

          Hello TrubiK
          here is another exmaple of Israel’s colonisation of Palestine. ” AS Joe Biden visits, Israel unveils plans for New Settlements”. NY Times. March 8, 2010.

          • david singer says:

            Ben

            Your statement “About 2000 new settlement blocks were announced by Israel” is a blatant lie.

            This is what the article of 3.11.2011 actually said:

            “The Israeli plans announced yesterday include the construction of 2,000 housing units in settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem, Ma’aleh Adumim and the Gush Etzion bloc. ”

            Are you capable of getting anything right because of innocent stupidity? Or do you deliberately misrepresent as part of an insidious attempt to denigrate Israel?

          • ben says:

            Hello David SInger. Thank you for the personal abuse. I will leave that aside. The “blocks” was an error, that apart the “settlement units” are true. Can you deny that Israel is expanding settlements, be it “blocks” in some place and “units” in other ?

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