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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pressing the panic button in Jordan?

A Kuwaiti paper reported last week that Jordan will vote against the creation of a 'Palestinian' reichlet if it comes up for a vote in the UN General Assembly in September.
On the other hand, Jordan is nearing a crossroads in its attitude toward the Palestinians. In my book, The Political Legacy of King Hussein (2004), I analyze the advantages that Hussein could have found in losing of the West Bank to Israel.

First and foremost, Israel would be in charge of resolving the Palestinian issue, and the Palestinians would not be in a position to claim Jordan as a Palestinian state.

In recent months, Israel seems to have divorced itself from its traditional policy of resisting a Palestinian state at all costs.

In the Jordanian mind, this translates to a position that might endanger the very existence of the Hashemite Kingdom, as well as the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian Peace Treaty, and a de-facto abandonment of the traditional friendship between the two countries that has survived many crisis since 1960.

Jordan has tried (and usually succeeded) in letting Israel lead the way against the creation of a Palestinian state. However, Israel is now seen as being too weak to halt a Palestinian independence process. The creation of such a state would put Jordan’s very existence in jeopardy: The PLO is formally and spiritually committed to taking over all of mandatory Palestine – i.e., Jordan, the territories and Israel. Considering that Israel would hold its ground within the 1967 lines, the next target of a small, economically weak, irredentist Palestinian state would be Jordan – a country that has already served as a battleground for the PLO in 1970-71.

If, indeed, this is the current Jordanian reading, it follows that the US and Israel are seen as weak players that cannot be trusted to support the kingdom.
That reading sounds pretty accurate to me. Read the whole thing.

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