Trump pressure pushes Jordan to choose Israel or PLO

April 15, 2018 by David Singer
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The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – refusing to bow to pressure by President Trump to cease payments to  terrorists and their families currently exceeding  US$400  million annually – is looming as a potential threat to end 96 years of unbroken Hashemite rule in Jordan…writes David Singer.

PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas  –  addressing the ninth annual Islamic Beit al-Maqdes International Conference in Ramallah last week  – has sent a veiled message  of the PLO’s intention  to challenge Jordan’s ruling  Hashemite family if  PLO demands for a State in the West Bank with Jerusalem as its capital are not met.

Jordan  comprised almost 77% of Palestine between 1920 and 1946 until granted independence by Great Britain and being  renamed The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan –  subsequently  being renamed  Jordan  in 1950 following Transjordan’s illegal annexation of  Judea and Samaria in 1948  ( redesignated  the West Bank).

 This semantic sleight of hand could never change  the  historic and demographic reality that Jordan formed  part of the territory comprised in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine –  Jordan’s  Crown Prince Hassan  declaring  in the Foreign Affairs Review in 1982:

“the Jordanians and Palestinians are now one people, and no political loyalty, however strong, will separate them permanently.”

Abbas told the Ramallah Conference:

 “In Palestine and Jordan, we are one people in two states and we will never accept an alternative homeland.”

 Abbas’s statement mirrored PLO founder Yasser Arafat’s in Der Spiegel  in 1986:

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

 Farouk Kadoumi –  the Head of the Political Department of the PLO –  told Newsweek on 14 March 1977:

“Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people.”

Alleging flagrant bias towards Israel by the Trump Administration – Abbas defiantly declared:

“We are not expecting anything from them. We won’t accept anything from them.”

Abbas is being incredibly naïve if he believes he can now convince the international community into accepting that one people needs two states – and that pursuing that goal should be internationally  supported at the expense of achieving an end to a conflict that originated with the 1917 Balfour Declaration.

Abbas’s  categorical  rejection of an American role in ending the conflict by  calling on the international community to help create a second Arab state in former  Palestine – in addition to Jordan – has little chance of success.

 Jordan’s King Abdullah should by now be under no  illusion that the PLO’s quest to create a PLO-ruled State is doomed to failure.  Abdullah should view with apprehension that Abbas’s remarks at the Ramallah  Conference  could again be laying the groundwork for another  PLO attempt  to overthrow Hashemite rule in Jordan – as  unsuccessfully occurred in September 1970 and is prescribed by article 2 of the PLO Charter.

The solution proposed by Israel’s late  Prime  Minister Yitzhak Rabin in The Australian on 27 May 1985 now takes on added significance:

“the Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the Jordan River there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees”

Such a solution – negotiated between Israel and Jordan under the framework of their 1994 Peace Treaty – would  see continuing Hashemite rule in Jordan being  backed by Israel and America –  stability sadly lacking presently  in many failed  Arab  States such as Syria and Libya.

Abbas’s Ramallah  statement has presented Jordan with a stark choice – negotiate with Israel or continue  supporting  the  PLO and face the prospect of another attempt to overthrow Jordan’s ruling  Hashemite dynasty.

Jordan’s decision should be a no-brainer.

[Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article – is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones”- one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators –  whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades]

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and foundation member of the International Analysts Network

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