Jordan is becoming increasingly unhappy at the role US Secretary of State John Kerry might be planning for it in his eagerly anticipated framework agreement designed to end the 130 years old Jewish-Arab conflict.
The Jordan Times reported on 28 January:
Figures representing professional unions and political parties are planning to hold a national conference to "protect Jordan and Palestine and repulse Kerry's peace plan". And a number of lawmakers signed a memorandum to convene a special Lower House session to discuss Kerry's controversial proposals.
Jordan's main opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a communiqué last week warning of an impending plan to liquidate the Palestinian cause, which, it said, threatens both Jordanians and Palestinians.
It said that the current regional situation will encourage the US and Israel to impose their conditions on the Palestinians and put pressure on Jordan.
One Islamist leader, Salem Al Falahat, told a local news website that while detailed information on Kerry's proposals is scarce, it is clear that current negotiations will not serve the interests of Palestinians or Jordanians.
Jordan's central role in bringing Kerry's push for peace to fruition arises from the following facts:
- The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Charter claims that "Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit."
- Jordanand Israel are the two successor States to the British Mandate – Jordan exercising sovereignty in 78% of the territory covered by the Mandate - and Israel in a further 17%.
- Stuck between them is the West Bank – 4% of the Mandate territory – which was:
- conquered and occupied by Transjordan in 1948 after having being called "Judea and Samaria" from biblical times until United Nations Resolution 181 (II) in 1947
- then renamed "the West Bank" after being unified with Transjordan in 1950 to create a new territorial entity renamed "Jordan"
- lost to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.
"West Bank" Arabs became "Jordanians" with Jordanian citizenship and passports between 1950 and 1988.
AbuIyad - deputy chief and head of intelligence for the PLO - ranking second after Yasser Arafat in Fatah - the major faction within the PLO - told the Kuwaiti News Agency on 15 December 1989:
You cannot make a distinction between a Jordanian and a Palestinian. It is true that we encourage unity between Arab peoples, but the relationship between Jordan and Palestine in particular is clearly distinctive; all those who tried in the past and are still trying to create divisions between the Jordanian and Palestinian people have failed. We indeed constitute one people … When the Palestinian state and unity is established…the Jordanian will be a Palestinian and the Palestinian a Jordanian
Jordan's Prince Hassan Bin Talal – the uncle of Jordan's current King Abdullah – succinctly summed up Jordan's pivotal position in 1982:
Small as Jordan is, our country is politically, socially, economically, militarily and historically inseparable from the Palestinian issue.
Small as Jordan might be – Israel is much smaller - fitting into Jordan almost five times.
Jordan's land mass could help resolve two thorny issues by:
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