Jordan's Prime Minister Omar Razzaz has made a welcome intervention to resolve the issue of sovereignty in Judea and Samaria (aka West Bank).
Razzaz's offer comes as Israel readies to restore Jewish sovereignty in 30% of Judea and Samaria after an absence of 3000 years – as promulgated by the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine and article 80 of the UN Charter - and detailed in President Trump's deal of the century.
Razzaz has raised the possibility of a "one-state solution" to replace the "two-state solution":
We are against unilateral actions. We are against annexation. We are against any steps that are not within an overall scheme that leads to a two-state solution. Short of that, if we're not going towards a two-state solution, let us know what we're going towards, what kind of one-state solution we're going towards.
The "two-state solution" favoured by the international community for the last 40 years – creating an independent State of Palestine between Israel and Jordan – has long passed its anticipated birth date. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) refusal to sit down with Israel to negotiate creating such a State in Gaza and 70% of Judea and Samaria – as detailed in Trump's Plan - is the final nail in the coffin for an unattainable solution first aired by the 1980 Venice Declaration.
Razzaz should consider going towards the "Jordan one-state solution" that existed between 1948 and 1967 - after Transjordan:
- invaded and conquered Judea and Samaria in 1948 - ethnically cleansing all Jews then living there
- changed its name in 1949
- unified "the two banks of the Jordan, the Eastern and Western, and their amalgamation in one single state: The Hashemite Kingdom of the Jordan" in 1950
- granted Jordanian citizenship to the West Bank Arab residents between 1950 and 1988
Razzaz lays down three conditions for any "one-state solution":
Jordan will not absorb transfers of Palestinians. Jordan will not become 'the' Palestine, as the Israeli extreme right wishes. And Jordan will not give up its custodianship over [holy Muslim and Christian sites in] Jerusalem. These three are clear for us.
Under the "Jordan one-state solution":
- No West Bank or Gazan Arab would have to move from his current home or business
- West Bank Arab residents would regain their 1954-1988 Jordanian citizenship – once again electing their own representatives to the Jordanian Parliament
- Unification of Gaza and possibly 70% of the West Bank with Jordan would accord with proposals contemplated by article 25 of the Mandate for Palestine 1922, the 1937 Peel Royal Commission and UN General Assembly "Resolution 181 (II) Future Government of Palestine" in 1947.
- Jordan's custodianship over the Muslim Holy Sites in Jerusalem is retained under the Jordan Israel Peace Treaty 1994
- The status quo existing between 1964 and 1968 would be restored when the PLO under article 24 of its founding Charter did "not exercise any regional sovereignty over the West Bank in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan" or "on the Gaza Strip":
- The territory comprised in the Mandate for Palestine would have been finally allocated as to about 20% to the Jewish People and 80% to the Arab Nation.
The late King Hussein of Jordan - writing in Uneasy lies the Head (p.82) stated:
Palestine and Jordan were both under the 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.
Razzaz and Netanyahu need to start a dialogue to bring the "Jordan one-state solution" to fruition and end the 100 years old Arab-Jewish conflict.
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