Palestine: Reunification Trumps Confederation

December 21, 2012 by David Singer
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 Reunification of the Arab populated areas of the West Bank with Jordan – as existed between 1948-1967 – has again emerged as the most viable solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict…writes David Singer.

This follows revelations in the London- based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that Palestinian Authority (PA) President and PLO Chairman – Mahmoud Abbas – has asked senior Fatah leaders to prepare for the formation of a confederation between a Palestinian State and Jordan.

Abbas has reportedly instructed his advisors to provide him with detailed strategic reports about the best way to conduct negotiations with Jordan to revive the confederation plan – first discussed in 1988 under very different political circumstances to those now existing.

Abbas’s spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, has told the Jerusalem Post (“Abbas mulls forming confederation with Jordan” – December 13) that the confederation idea would be discussed with Jordan – but only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef has also told the Jerusalem Post that any talk about the confederation plan now would hinder efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines “because Israel is hoping that a Palestinian state would be part of Jordan.

The creation of such a state will not occur.

Jordan appears to have been positioning itself to replace the Palestinian Authority as Israel’s negotiating partner  – as indicated by the following recent events:

  1. King Abdullah’s uncle – Prince Hassan – stated in October that the West Bank was part of Jordan.
  2. PLO heavyweight Farouk Kaddumi followed by pointing to the advantages that could follow Jordan’s return to the West Bank.
  3. The Jordanian Education Department produced a map in a text book not showing the West Bank as a separate territorial entity.
  4. Prince Hassan gave a public address to the Board of Deputies of British Jews at a gala black tie affair in London seven days before Abbas took to the podium at the United Nations on 29 November.

Jordan’s return to centre stage has been further strengthened by Abbas’s decision to proceed with  unilateral action to have the “State of Palestine” admitted as a non-observer State at the United Nations with its claim to sovereignty in 100% of the West Bank being recognised at the same time.

Abbas has already paid dearly for his precipitate action in abandoning negotiations with Israel and going it alone to the United Nations – unleashing the following consequences:

  1. Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal defiantly opposing a Palestinian State being created  anywhere but on the ashes of Israel.
  2. Four hundred million dollars in taxation revenues collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority being withheld over the next four months to  meet unpaid water and electricity bills owed by the PA to Israeli utility companies.
  3. Israel announcing plans to revive building another 3000 housing units – kept on hold since 2004 to placate and induce the PA to continue negotiations with Israel
  4. Abbas being forced  to go cap in hand to Arab countries begging to be helped out to the tune of One hundred million dollars a month to stay afloat

Many of those 138 Nations that voted to admit the State of Palestine as a non-observer state must now be shaking their heads in amazement at the latest announcement by Abbas of a possible confederation of that state with Jordan once statehood has been achieved

It makes a mockery of their decision to grant non-observer status to a state whose chief proponent has now admitted still does not exist.

Even worse Abbas is now flagging that this State – when it achieves its independence – will immediately be prepared to surrender that independence and enter into a confederation with Jordan.

The two-state solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict proposed under the Oslo Accords and the Bush Roadmap is rapidly turning out to be nothing but a chimera

Abbas’s confederation proposal is unlikely to resonate with Jordan – which is well aware of the provision in the PLO Charter proclaiming that Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and Jordan is “an indivisible territorial unit”. Confederation would give the PLO a foothold and possible opportunity to repeat its 1970 attempt to overthrow the Hashemite monarchy in pursuit of this stated objective.

The King would also be cognisant of the following resolution supporting reunification of the West Bank and Jordan  passed at the 8th meeting of the Palestinian National Council in February- March 1971:

“Jordan is linked to Palestine by a national relationship and a national unity forged by history and culture from the earliest times. The creation of one political entity in Transjordan and another in Palestine would have no basis either in legality or as to the elements universally accepted as fundamental to a political entity. .. In raising the slogan of the liberation of Palestine and presenting the problem of the Palestine revolution, it was not the intention of the Palestine revolution to separate the east of the River from the West, nor did it believe the struggle of the Palestinian people can be separated from the struggle of the masses in Jordan…”

This resolution – unlike the November 29 General Assembly resolution – still has relevance and meaning 41 years later for both Jordan and the PLO.

King Abdullah could do worse than reaffirm his agreement with this resolution and rebuff any attempts at confederation – making it clear at the same time that he is prepared to enter into negotiations with Israel to reunify the West Bank with Jordan and restore the status quo so far as is now possible since Jordan occupied the West Bank 45 years ago.

The Hashemites by their astute and diplomatic rule in Jordan for the last 93 years have preserved 78% of former Palestine as an exclusive Arab State in an area originally proposed by the League of Nations for the reconstitution of the Jewish National Home.

The peace treaty signed between Jordan and Israel in 1994 has survived intact despite, many occasions when Jordan may have been tempted to end it.This peace treaty already contains negotiating parameters for dealing with such thorny issues in the West Bank as water, refugees and Jerusalem.

Hopefully Israel and Jordan could successfully conclude negotiations where no one – Jew or Arab – would have to leave his present home or business in the West Bank.

Abbas’s provocation of both Israel and Hamas in approaching the United Nations has clearly backfired and his proposal to confederate with Jordan can only have further embarrassed and disaffected many countries that supported him.

 

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

 

 

Comments

13 Responses to “Palestine: Reunification Trumps Confederation”
  1. Ben says:

    David,

    It’s you who doesn’t get it.

    The PA is asking for 22% not 100%. I know you think the PA = Hamas but if you’re right Abbas must be some kind of genius as he’s convinced far greater minds in the US gov and the EU that your theory is utter nonsense. If you’re trying to argue that “rejection” of past offers by the Pals disqualifies them from statehood, that’s a non sequitur. No such rule of international law exists. In fact, they never rejected statehood, just one on Isr’s terms.

    Isr should have heeded the advice in 1967 from its own legal advisor, now an Israeli Judge,Theodor Meron, and not built in the WB and East Jerusalem.The Levy Report of June this year is pure legal fiction (have posted about this before) and if Israelis find themselves on the receiving end of ICC arrest warrants (see recent Dershowitz article in Jerusalem Post) perhaps then you will understand that the bird has definitely not flown on this issue.

    I’m not going to respond to Paul’s racist rant about Palestinians being thieves, liars, murderers, beggar people etc except to say that it’s amusing he should accuse me of name calling. His views mirror the vile anti-semitism one finds on extremist islamist web sites and gives fodder to those who wrongly accuse Jews of racism and bigotry.

    Having said all this, Im in mild agreement with the idea of a militarised WB until the PA proves it can control extremist elements. Temporary military outposts for this purpose, yes; permanent facts on the ground, no.

    That’s my last word on this.

    Happy new year

    Ben

  2. David says:

    Ben

    You simply don’t get it.

    As Shirlee points out the idea of a state for the Palestinian Arabs has been proposed on many occasions since 1937 and rejected for one reason only – anything less than 100% of all of Palestine is unacceptable

    The Palestinian Arabs are perfectly entitled to maintain what I consider to be a totally irrational and unattainable goal. Their approach so far has spelt disaster not only for them but for the Jews as well

    As they continue with this fantasy – the territory available to them keeps shrinking – because facts on the ground change.

    It is ironic that the state of Palestine they (or at least the PLO ) will now accept in 2012 was theirs for the asking between 1948-1967 after six invading Arab armies had driven out every single Jew that then lived in East Jerusalem,Gaza and the West Bank.

    To expect that this 19 window of opportunity could possibly happen 64 years later as part of a negotiated settlement is a pipe dream.

    Something less… Maybe – but even 95% has been turned down.

    The bird has flown…..

  3. Shirlee. says:

    Ben,

    If you are so sure these so-called Palestinians a state “that they appear to want rather desperately.”

    How come they keep refusing?

    1937 British government, which then ruled Palestine, proposed to divide the land into separate Arab and Jewish states. THEY REFUSED

    1947, choose to go to war rather than accept the UN’s decision to partition Palestine between its Jewish and Arab populations. THEY REFUSED

    1967 Israel offered to relinquish the land it had acquired in exchange for peace with its neighbors, the Arab world’s response, issued at a summit in Khartoum, was not one no, but three: “No peace with Israel, no negotiations with Israel, no recognition of Israel.’’ THEY REFUSED

    2000, Camp David offered Arabs a sovereign state with shared control of Jerusalem and billions of dollars in compensation for Palestinian refugees. Yasser Arafat refused the offer, and returned to launch the deadly terror war known as the Second Intifada. THEY REFUSED

    2008 Ehud Olmert offered Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas a peace agreement that would have guaranteed a Palestinian state in virtually all the West Bank, Gaza, and part of Jerusalem. Once again, the Palestinians turned down the offer. THEY REFUSED

    • Paul says:

      Ah Shirlee, you know as well as I, that the Palestinian Arabs do not want a state, rather they want to deny self-determination to Jews. The very idea of the Jews as equals (and worse still bettering the mohammedans in battle) is repugnant to to people whose supremacy comes from their religion and the proof of that derives from their battlefield victories.

      They have concocted a history that makes them native to the land. Some of them are, but many of them are migrants or imports from other parts of the Ottoman empire. Some of them Jews who had converted to escape paying the jizya imposed on dhimmis. The only problem with that myth is that it contradicts their earlier claims to be suothern Syrians and their later claims of being part of the Arab nation.

  4. Ben says:

    David,

    Since the Palestians will never agree to this, perhaps Israel could just make the decision for them and reclassify the Palestinians as Jordanians – in the same way South Africa unilaterally reclassified members of various southern african tribes as citizens of the bantustans ? Sure Isr will be criticised by the UN, but, to paraphrase Bibi, Isr doesnt “care what the UN says”.

    Ben

    • david says:

      Ben

      The Palestinian Arabs made the decision to be called Jordanians, obtain Jordanian citizenship and Jordanian passports when they agreed to unify the West Bank and East Jerusalem with Transjordan in 1950 and rename the new territorial entity “Jordan”

      This position continued unchanged until July 31 1988 when King Hussein announced the severance of all administrative and legal ties with the West Bank.

      Why should there be any problem in seeking to restore those ties now?

      A return to the pre-1988 status quo – taking into account the changed realities on the ground since 1967 until today – remains the only realistic way forward .

      19 years of trying to create an exclusively Arabs only state between Jordan and Israel for the first time ever in recorded history has failed – because the Palestinian Arabs over that long period between 1993-2012 could never agree to any proposals made by Israel.

      In that regard they were merely following the rejectionist behaviour of their predecessors in 1937, 1947, and between 1948-1967.

      You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

      • Ben says:

        David,

        Many black South Africans under Apartheid accepted citizenship (and even participated in the administration) of the Bantustans. In doing so they never waived claims to end Apartheid.

        You cannot force or expect a people to forsake their national identity. It’s a crime of arrogance and, if exected, international law.

        Worse still, you cannot expect Palestinians to accept this because the 2 state option is being frustrated, particularly when it is israel, through illegal settlements, that is widely seen as contributing towards that frustration.

        Your idea, though imaginative, is dead and hopeless. Only right wing extremists and followers of the late Meir Kahane hang on to this fantasy.

        Time to move on.

        • David says:

          Ben

          You need to read my article again and not go off on a tangent and talk about South Africa – the diversionary tactics you usually employ to avoid discussing the issues my articles raise.

          This article deals with a report that Abbas is ready to confederate with Jordan – but only after statehood has been achieved.

          I offered my opinion that a state between Israel and Jordan occupying all the land won by Israel in the 1967 Six Day war would not eventuate.

          I pointed out why in my opinion Confederation would not resonate with Jordan – even if such a state were ever created.

          I gave reasons why Reunification might work irrespective of any such state being created or not.

          Encouraging the Palestinian Arabs to demand more from Israel than they enjoyed between 1950-1967 is – and has always been – unrealistic as I have been at pains to point out in so many of my articles.

          Holding out for more has brought nothing but grief and trauma for both Jews and Arabs for the last 45 years.

          Reunification – by restoring to Jordan the Arab populated areas of the West Bank lost by Jordan in the Six Day War after being warned by Israel to desist from getting involved – would be a major act of reconciliation that the Arab world should grab with open arms.

          If they don’t – then the future ahead is very bleak.

          If they do – there is at least some hope that there will never be another SIx Day War.

          • Ben says:

            David,

            I have read your article several times – by which I mean I have read the previous articles and the verious “re-runs” and “re-re-runs” of the same argument once.

            You know full well that the idea of “reunification” short-circuiting statehood would be repugnant to Palestinians as it denies them a right to a state that they appear to want rather desperately. Equally repugnant to Jordan as Jordan disclaims responsibility for Israel’s problems. A previous post has identified the political havoc this would wreck in Jordan.

            I find it difficult to believe that you are so out of touch with the mood on the ground in the ME that these rather obvious point would be unknown to you.

            In these circumstances, there are three likely reasons for advocating your proposal:

            1. You recognise that expansion of the settlements has made it more challenging to create a viable and contiguous Palestinian state. If so, Israel is the author of this mess and it does not lie in its mouth to now complain about the challenges.

            2. You do not consider Palestinians worthy of a state. You would be of this view if you were, for example, a bigot or if you consider jews or jewish claims to statehood superior to those of Palestinians (still bigotry). If this were the official position of Isr it would expose, as deception, every gesture made by Isr at Taba and Camp David.

            3. Two states would render Isr “indefensible”. This is at least an argument that the EU and US have given a modicum of credence to, but only upto a point. Fear cannot trump Pal’s rights indefinitely and there are ways of accommodating both.

            Which of the above 3 reasons do you adopt as the basis for your position ?

            Ben

          • Paul says:

            To: David and Ben

            David: You need to read your own article. You very correctly point out that the PA’s UN gambit has hoist it on its own petard. It has admitted that it is not a state and consequently has no power to enter into negotiations. Confederation is contingent on attaining statehood and it is something that Jordan and the PA’s rival, Hamas, reject. The very idea of handing Judea and Samaria to an unstable Jordanian regime outrageous, the more so as it treats Israel, the legal holder of those lands, as a contemptible irrelevancy with no right to its voice or security. It is mere mohammedam power challenging.

            Ben: The Arabs of Palestine, by their statements (read David’s article) are not an ethnic group nor do they possess the attributes of peoplehood. They are Arabs and related most to the majority of the people in Jordan. The people who market themselves as “Palestinian” do not deserve a state; they were Hitler’s allies, their leaders and many of their people are murderers, theives and liars and they are a beggar community that cannot organise self-government as required by the Road Map. They are a sham people existing for nothing other than to destroy the Jewish state. All three of your analyses are faulty. (1) Jewish building of their homeland is no problem as it takes up less than 2% of Judea and Samaria; the local Arabs who reject 98% of something, deserve 100% of nothing. (2) Name calling does not advance your argument; those Arabs, identifying as they do with their kin in Jordan, are not a people worthy of self-determination. And after the way they behaved in Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon and in Israel, nobody wants them except to use as a cudgel to beat Israel. The Jewish claim to statehood is based on peoplehood and so too would be the claims of the Kurds, the Berbers and the Saharawis whom pally proponents like you and your ilk, ignore. (3) It is stupid to claim that Israel’s security concerns can be dismissed because a hostile gang wants territory from which to attack it.
            Giving the Judean hills to the PA which is making up to the MB’s offshoot Hamas when it openly declares itself determined to destroy Israel is a recipe for war.

            The answer, David and Ben, is not for the resurrection of a mouldering corpse of a plan, but the restoration of Rabin’s vision. The unwanted non-Israeli Arabs of Judean and Samaria can have self-rule in unarmed entity(ies) under Jewish military and foreign relations control. And if they don’t like it then all the al-Masris, al-Baghdadis and al-Libis can go back to where they came from while the rest who want to reunite with their kin in Jordan can be given a golden handshake. The Jewish people have a right to their homeland free from threat by local and international Jew haters. And a “peace” that leads to war in sheer lunacy.

  5. Michael says:

    We can bet on Palestinians and Arabs to keep fighting amongst themselves .
    The Arabs Also prefer to keep the Israeli /pal going znd use the pals as cannon. Fodder to take the focus off their own human rights abuses and descriminstion amongst themselves

  6. Meqdad says:

    The Jewish roots in Palestine go much farther back than most Muslims would be willing to admit.

    Before 1948, Palestine was ruled by a series of empires. Before that Palestine was Judaea—a Jewish country. Jews have lived in Palestine continuously for more than 3,300 years. “Palestine” was the name given to the Jewish homeland in the second century by the Romans, in an attempt to break the Jewish adherence to the land. This was a century after the Jewish temple was destroyed and more than a million Jews were massacred.

    The Jews stopped fighting the Romans only after they had no more fighting men standing. As Evangelist William Eugene Blackstone put it in 1891, “The Jews never gave up their title to Palestine… They never abandoned the land. They made no treaty, they did not even surrender. They simply succumbed, after the most desperate conflict, to the overwhelming power of the Romans.”

    The Jews persisted through the centuries under the various empires, after the Arab invasion of 635AD (which they fought alongside the Byzantines), and after the Crusade massacres of the 11th Century, which decimated much of their population.

    Few Muslims realize that Jewish customs, religion, prayers, poetry, holidays, and virtually every walk of life, documented for thousands of years—all revolve around Judaea/Palestine/Israel. For thousands of years Jews have been praying for Jerusalem in every prayer, after every meal, in every holiday, at every wedding, in every celebration. The whole Jewish religion is about Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. Western expressions such as “The Promised Land,” and “The Holy Land,” didn’t pop out of void. They have been part of Western knowledge and tradition dating back to the beginning of Christianity and earlier.

    After the Crusades, the Jews—including many who have returned over the centuries—lived peacefully with Arabs, often in the very same villages, as in Pki’in, in the Galilee, until the Zionist immigration of the 19th and 20th Centuries. Article 6 of the PLO Charter specifically calls for the acceptance of all Jews present in Palestine prior to the Zionist immigration. These Jews were simply another ethnic group in a region composed of Sunnis, Shiites, Jews, Druz, Greek Orthodox, Catholics, Circassians, Samarians, and more. Some of these groups, like the Druz, Circassians, Samarians, and an increasing number of Christians, are actually loyal to the Jewish State.

    Arab and Muslim denial may lead to events such as the ones brilliantly depicted in Jonathan Bloomfield’s award-winning book, “Palestine,” in which actual history and predicted events are thinly veiled as fiction.

    War and bloodshed will continue until the Arabs and Muslims stop lying to themselves, and acknowledge that the Jewish roots in Palestine go back thousands of years, long before the Arab invasion of Palestine.

  7. Paul says:

    There is no such thing as “a non-observer state”; that was clearly a Freudian slip bearing in mind that “Palestine” fails to observe agreements. abu Mazen’s half entity has been granted non-member observer state status by the UN.

    This is a rehash of a previous post. The PA is in no position to transfer authority over Judea/Samaria to Jordan without Israeli approval. Israel controls the territory and must retain control over the Jordan valley and the mountain passes.

    The Jordanians are responding to internal pressure to assert a clain over territory they signed away and the PA is seeking to both balance Hamas’ popularity and to challenge Israel’s control and security.

    Not even a dove like Peres would hand over strategic areas to a future potential enemy. Please keep in mind that the Hashemites grip on Jordan is being challenged by the Moslem Brotherhood. The plan has nothing going for it but pipe dreams and Arab chutzpah.

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