Jordan’s King Abdullah is clearly feeling the pressure as the spotlight increasingly focuses on the role Jordan will have to play in resolving the allocation of sovereignty in the West Bank between Jews and Arabs.
This became very clear in the interview given by the King to Fareed Zakaria, in Davos, Switzerland during the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting on January 29.
The two-state solution - designed to create a new Arab State between Israel, Jordan and Egypt in the West Bank and Gaza - has comprehensively failed despite the most intensive diplomatic efforts to achieve such an outcome during the last 17 years.
The root cause of failure has been the Arab League’s refusal to budge from its 43-years-old negotiating position that demands:
- the ceding by Israel of sovereignty in 100 per cent of the West Bank and Gaza; and
- Israel accepting millions of Arabs into the Jewish State.
Offers by Israel to cede sovereignty in excess of 90 per cent of the West Bank - which houses 95 per cent of the Arab population living there - were rejected by the Arabs in 2001 and 2008.
Israel is not prepared to cede any further territory in the West Bank for security reasons. This area also houses the majority of the 500,000 Jewish population who currently live in the West Bank.
Israel’s evacuation of Gaza in 2005 has proved disastrous with Hamas seizing control from the Palestinian Authority in 2007 - effectively dividing the proposed new State into two separately controlled fiefdoms.
The failure of President Barack Obama to get Israel and the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations for the last 12 months - which assuredly won’t go anywhere even if they were to be resumed - has sent power brokers scurrying to find alternatives to the two-state solution.
King Abdullah in his interview expressed his own fears when stating: “Actually, this is probably the first time where I am somewhat pessimistic.” His gloomy mood was further emphasised when he said http://en.ammonnews.net/article.aspx?articleNO=6236:
… sooner or later there is an invisible line in the sand that we will cross that will be clear to everybody, whether or not the viability of a two-state solution is there. And I hope we haven’t crossed that yet but when - or God forbid - we do cross that line, then I think we doom the Middle East and the region to many decades of instability.
With the deepest respect to His Majesty - that invisible line was crossed when the Palestinian Authority rejected the offer made by Israel in the negotiations conducted in 2008.
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