Whom does Jordan want controlling its border with Israel/the 'Palestinians'
With all of the discussion about the Jordan Valley in recent weeks, one question that has largely been ignored is the preference of the party on the other side of the border. Whom does Jordan want to see in control of the Jordan Valley and its western border: Israel or the 'Palestinians'? The answer - from Khaled Abu Toameh
- might surprise you.
In private off-the-record meetings, top Jordanian officials make it
crystal clear that they prefer to see Israel sitting along their shared
It is no secret that the Jordanians have long been worried about the
repercussions of the presence of Palestinians on their border.
In a recent closed briefing with a high-ranking Jordanian security
official, he was asked about the kingdom's position regarding the
possibility that Palestinians might one day replace Israel along the
border with Jordan.
"May God forbid!" the official retorted. "We have repeatedly made it
clear to the Israeli side that we will not agree to the presence of a
third party at our border."
The official explained that Jordan's stance was not new. "This has
been our position since 1967," he said. "The late King Hussein made this
clear to all Israeli governments and now His majesty, King Abdullah,
remains committed to this position."
Jordan's opposition to placing the border crossings with the West
Bank under Palestinian control is not only based on security concerns.
Besides the security concerns, the Jordanians are also worried about
the demographic implications of Palestinian security and civilian
presence over the border.
Their worst nightmare, as a veteran Jordanian diplomat once told
Israeli colleagues during a private encounter, is that once the
Palestinians are given control over the border, thousands of them from
the future Palestinian state would pour into Jordan.
The Jordanians already have a "problem" with the fact that their
kingdom's population consists of a Palestinian majority, which some say
has reached over 80%. The last thing the Jordanians want is to see
hundreds of thousands of Palestinians move from the West Bank or Gaza
Strip into the kingdom.
Although the Jordanians are not part of the ongoing peace talks
between the Palestinian Authority and Israel, they are hoping that
Israel will not rush to abandon security control over its long border
with the kingdom. Understandably, the Jordanian monarchy cannot go
public with its stance for fear of being accused by Arabs and Muslims of
treason and collaboration with the "Zionist enemy."
The Egyptians today know what the Jordanians have been aware of for a
long time -- that a shared border with Fatah or Hamas or any other
Palestinian group is a recipe for instability and anarchy.
King Abdullah is motivated by his instinct for self-preservation. We should be no less motivated by the same instinct.
Labels: Jordan, Jordan is Palestine, Jordan Valley, Jordanian King Abdullah, Palestinian Authority