Trump can broker Israel-Jordan deal but no Israel-PLO agreement

March 23, 2017 by David Singer
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President Trump’s Special Representative for International Negotiations – Jason Greenblatt – has returned from his wide-ranging meetings in Jerusalem, Ramallah, Amman and Jericho with zero prospects of Trump brokering a deal between Israel and the PLO…writes David Singer.However Greenblatt’s belief in the pivotal role Jordan can play in resolving the 100 years old Jewish-Arab conflict was apparent in his tweet after meeting Jordan’s King Abdullah II:

“We agree on the need for peace between Israelis and Palestinians. Jordan an important ally in this effort.”

According to the Jordan Times:

During the meeting, held at Al Husseiniya Palace, His Majesty stressed the US role in ending the stalemate in the Palestinian-Israeli peace process and reviving negotiations that should lead to a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict, based on the two-state formula.

He asserted that reaching a just deal of a comprehensive peace that includes establishing a Palestinian state will reflect on efforts to achieve peace, security and stability in the region.”

King Abdullah is whistling in the wind in believing another Arab state could still be established – in addition to Jordan – in the territory comprised in the Mandate for Palestine where Israel presently exercises sovereignty in 17% and Jordan 77% – whilst sovereignty remains undetermined in the last 6% – the West Bank (Judea and Samaria) and Gaza.

Negotiations between Israel and the PLO to create that second Arab State have extended over the last 24 years and been dormant since April 2014.

Those negotiations have failed because Israel and the PLO have been unable to resolve core demands despite two offers having been made by Israel in 2000/2001 and 2008 to cede its claims in over 90% of the West Bank.

Israel’s unmet demands are that:

  1. The PLO recognise Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people
  2. The major Jewish settlement blocs in Judea and Samaria be incorporated into the boundaries of Israel
  3. Israel retains security control over the Jordan Valley
  4. Jerusalem remains the eternal undivided capital of Israel
  5. Any such State be demilitarized

The PLO’s unmet demands are that:

  1. The Palestinian State be granted sovereignty over all of the territory of the West Bank with its capital being located in East Jerusalem.
  2. All Jewish settlements located in the West Bank and East Jerusalem be dismantled and their inhabitants be removed.
  3. Palestinian Arab refugees who fled the 1948 Arab invasion of Western Palestine be allowed to return and settle in Israel.

Trumps’s ability to cut a deal in the face of these irreconcilable differences is severely hampered by the written commitments made to Israel’s Prime Minister Sharon by President Bush on 14 April 2004 and overwhelmingly endorsed by the US House of Representatives by 407-9 and Senate 95-3.

Those commitments – given to Israel to secure Israel’s total withdrawal from Gaza and four Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria – back Israel’s above demands in any negotiations with the PLO.

It seems inconceivable that Trump – the master deal-maker – would consider reneging on the Bush-Congress-Sharon deal. If he did – Israel would not resume negotiations with the PLO. If he doesn’t the PLO would not resume negotiations with Israel.

If Trump wants to do a deal – he needs Jordan to come to the party and enter into direct negotiations with Israel to allocate sovereignty in the West Bank between Jordan and Israel – virtually completing the original two-state formula envisaged in 1922 by article 25 of the League of Nations Mandate.

Greenblatt’s meeting with King Abdullah is a possible pointer to getting such negotiations underway. Trump’s undoubted brokering skills can ensure such negotiations happen.

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

Comments

5 Responses to “Trump can broker Israel-Jordan deal but no Israel-PLO agreement”
  1. Paul Winter says:

    David, the problem with your obsession regarding the solution of the Jewish/Arab problem is that, like all obsessions, it is not reality based.

    Let me repeat the realities of the situation, perhaps with sufficient repetition, you may allow facts to intrude on your pipe-dream:
    * the Jordanian monarchy is as popular as a pork chop in a synagogue
    * Israel would be insane to base any agreement on a state teerering on the verge of an ISIS takeover
    * King Abdullah is in power because Israel supports him
    * the Arabs east of the Jordan are the most hostile of any Arab group to Israel
    * the Hamas/PA kleptocaratic terror cliques will not surrender their access to the teat of EU/UN/USA/NGO funds which would cease with an Israel/Jordan deal
    * the age of big powers determining the fate of people is over

    Your analysis is also faulty in laying out the demands of the PA (which does not represent Gaza) as equal and that is the same flaw that pervades all of the efforts of “peace makers”: Israel is a victorious democracy while the PA/Hamas gangs are weak chutzpadig beggars. Israel must lay down the terms for granting some form of autonomy and if the jihadi beggars won’t accept those, then its back off to Tunisia.

    Israel must control Judea and Samaria and likely Gaza. Israel must make demands on the Arabs and then enforce them. Israel has many hostile frenemies, but the greatest enemy of peace is the Israeli leadership stuck in the kibbutznik ideal of common humanity and good will that imposed the Oslo disaster. Churchill’s observation of Arabs needs to be kept in mind: they are either at your throat or at your feet. And as distasteful as it is, the Arabs give Israel no choice but to have them at her feet.

    • david singer says:

      You need to back up your arguments with facts if you want to be taken seriously.

      Like this doozy:
      * the Arabs east of the Jordan are the most hostile of any Arab group to Israel”

      When did the PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP become purring kittens in your eyes?

      The facts you cannot dispute are that Israel and Jordan :
      1. Are the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine
      2. Between them already exercise sovereignty in 94% of the territory of the Mandate.
      3. Have enjoyed a signed peace treaty since 1994.

      These represent real foundations for ending the Arab-Jewish conflict based on the two state solution first articulated by the League of Nations in article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine unanimously endorsed by all 51 members of the League.

      That is the factual argument for calling for direct negotiations between Jordan and Israel to resolve sovereignty still remaining undetermined in the last remaining 6% of the territory covered by the Mandate.

      If you have a better solution – articulate it in the same fashion and then we can have a rational discussion on their respective merits.

      • Paul Winter says:

        My arguments are based on fact widely available. Do some reading before you engage in insulting.

        Your demand for facts and your inference that my points are irrational are a fine evasion of dealing with reality. But by all means, persevere with your obsession. Pity that Arab cliques are not as easy to move around as chess pieces on a board.

        Your facts are correct but irrelevant. You ignore my point that a victorious Israel must not allow a lying totalitarian antisemitic entity to be regarded as its equal. Israel and Jordan are the successor states of the mandate, but Israel has the option of declaring sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, since the international border was the Jordan river and that hasn’t changed according to Prof Eugene Kontorovich, an international law expert working at Northwestern University. Israel’s claim to Judea and Samaria were nicely summarized by the late justice Levy in his report.

        There are several options outlined by Glick, Sherman, Feiglin, Karsh, etc and they are nothing like the pipe dream on which you are hook(ah)ed. But it takes a man less in love with himself and a ghetto mentality – like Bibi – to choose an option to sever the Gordian knot.

        For starters I propose that all residents swear loyalty to the state and its institutions and all young people do national service. Those who fail to swear loyalty can lose civil rights as in the old USSR, or they could lose citizenship becoming an alien under Israeli protection and those hostile to Israel could be given a carrot and stick incentive to relocate to mohammedan realms. These are far better than your fixation with a Jordan which Caroline Glick just a few days ago exposed as a hostile supporter of jihadi terror. Get real!

  2. Leon Poddebsky says:

    David

    An accretion of “Palestinian” Arabs in Jordan, which is ruled by the minority regime of the Hejazi King Abdullah, would increase the likelihood of his already unstable regime being toppled.
    How would a “Palestinian” state comprising Jordan plus part of Judaea-Samaria be less of a security challenge for Israel than the current situation?

    It appears that for years Israel has underwritten the existence of the Hejazi Jordanian regime, obviously with its consent.
    A “Palestinian”- ruled Jordan obviously would not be interested in such an arrangement.

    The scenario which you have postulated makes sense, but among the Palestinian Arabs it is emotion, passion, prejudice which are the motivators.
    Arab Palestinian society believes passionately that it has been robbed by the Jews, and it is determined not to deviate from its mission of supplanting Israel.
    Only a crushing defeat can jolt them out of that deep mental-emotional rut.

    • David Singer says:

      Leon

      You ask:
      “How would a “Palestinian” state comprising Jordan plus part of Judaea-Samaria be less of a security challenge for Israel than the current situation?”

      Jordan and Israel have had a signed peace treaty since 1994 and Israel would ensure that its security requirements were fully protected under any agreement negotiated with Jordan on Judea and Samaria
      Dealing with a peace partner of 23 years is different to dealing with an implacable foe of 53 years.

      You further state:
      “A “Palestinian”- ruled Jordan obviously would not be interested in such an arrangement.”

      You can only deal with the current regime whilst ensuring that if there is regime change Israel’s security interests have been protected to meet that change. The Hashemites have ruled Jordan for 95 years and have survived many challenges including one by the PLO in 1970.

      Negotiations with Jordan represent the last possible solution to ending the violence that has dogged Arabs and Jews since the 1880’s. All other proposals and recommendations have fallen by the wayside.

      Jordan and Israel – the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine – have always been – and still remain – the proper parties to resolve the conflict.

      Trump will not take too long to figure out that if he wants to get a deal done – then Israel and Jordan are the only parties that can achieve a resolution.

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