Abdullah-Biden meeting will not help resolve Jewish-Arab conflict

July 12, 2021 by David Singer
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The meeting between Jordan’s King Abdullah and President Biden at the White House on 19 July seems set to achieve absolutely nothing towards resolving the 100 years-old conflict between Jews and Arabs.

Biden’s Press Secretary – Jen Psaki – has claimed:

“It will be an opportunity to discuss the many challenges facing the Middle East and showcase Jordan’s leadership role in promoting peace and stability in the region.”

The King has shown no leadership in resolving the conflict between Jews and Arabs over sovereignty in Judea and Samaria (West Bank) [“Disputed Territory”] and Gaza – comprising the remaining 5% of the territory of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine where sovereignty still remains unallocated (“Unallocated Territories”).

Sovereignty in the remaining 95% of the Mandate territory was divided between:

  • Jordan – 78% – upon the establishment of the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan in 1946
  • Israel – 17% – upon its establishment in 1948.

Concerted attempts over the last 25 years to create an additional Arab State in the Unallocated Territories for the first time in recorded history (“two-state solution”) have all failed. Abdullah has been a principal protagonist for this solution.

Jordan’s failure to take a leadership role in agreeing to an alternative solution – division of the Unallocated Territories between Jordan and Israel within the framework of their existing 1994 Peace Treaty – has gone begging during Abdullah’s 22 year reign.

The following historic, geographic and demographic realities bind Jordan with the Disputed Territory:

  • Transjordan in 1948 conquered and occupied the Disputed Territory until 1967 – renaming the newly-merged territorial entity “Jordan” in 1950.
  • The Arab residents of the Disputed Territory were Jordanian citizens between 1950 and 1988 and elected their own representatives to the Jordanian Parliament in Amman.
  • Statements made by Arab leaders over decades have attested to the territorial and population ties between Jordan and the Disputed Territory:

“Jordan and Palestine until 1945 were one state, actually. After the Second World War Churchill himself said ‘This is Transjordan and this is Palestine’. Before that, Jordan was an emirate, completely part of Palestine.” – Yasser Arafat New York Review of Books 25 June 1987

“Jordanians and Palestinians are indeed one people. No one can divide us. We have the same fate.” – Yasser Arafat Der Spiegel 1986

“The Jordanians and Palestinians are now one people, and no political loyalty, however strong, will separate them permanently… Small as Jordan is, our country is politically, socially, economically, militarily and historically inseparable from the Palestinian issue” – Crown Prince Hassan of Jordan Foreign Affairs Spring 1982

“Palestine and Jordan were both under British Mandate, but as my grandfather pointed out in his memoirs, they were hardly separate countries. Trans-Jordan, being to the east of the River Jordan, it formed in a sense, the interior of Palestine” – King Hussein of Jordan Uneasy Lies the Head, New York 1962 p. 118

“This Organization does not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, on the Gaza Strip or the Himmah Area” – Article 24 Palestine Liberation Organisation Charter 1964

Jewish settlement – prohibited under article 25 of the 1922 Mandate document in what is today’s Jordan – was encouraged under article 6 in the Disputed Territory on State land and wasteland not required for public purposes. That right is preserved until today under Article 80 of the United Nations Charter.

Jordan’s return to such part of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) as is agreed with Israel in direct negotiations remains the key to ending the Jewish-Arab conflict.

Jordan – part of the problem – must be part of the solution.

Abdullah will continue to hide behind the two-state solution in his meeting with Biden.

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

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.

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