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Palestine - Abdullah’s plea is Obama’s poisoned tea

By David Singer - posted Thursday, 7 May 2009

“Mr Churchill, if you were my husband I’d poison your tea”.
“And if you were my wife I would drink it” Winston Churchill.

Jordan’s King Abdullah has offered American President Barack Obama the proverbial cup of poisoned tea in His Majesty’s address to the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington on April 24.

His Majesty sought to induce President Obama to take the first sip of the poisoned chalice when claiming:


Every country in the Middle East, and perhaps even the world, sees the United States as being the key to achieving peace … Now is the time for the United States to lead, to ensure no more time is wasted. Failing to act means that we will all lose. The status quo is simply untenable. The dangers are too many and too big to ignore.

There needed to be in His Majesty’s view:

An effective peace plan for 2009 and beyond - a plan of negotiations that can achieve concrete results quickly and stop the drift towards confrontation. I say plan, not process, for a reason. The very term “peace process” is an “artefact of history”. When it was coined in the 1970’s, the idea was to break the decades of deadlock by taking an incremental approach. … the old idea has seen its day. We have reached the time for the end -game, in which all sides can win.

In King Abdullah’s further view:

… the groundwork is there. The two-state settlement has been agreed by the parties and the entire international community … The path for peace can go only through the two-state solution. No other solution can offer the justice that people demand and respect. And no other solution can give people a reason to take risks peace requires.

King Abdullah’s address is both deficient in its analysis yet encouraging in its prescription.


He has failed to recognise that Israel and Jordan - not the United States - hold the key to achieving peace for the following salient and compelling reasons:

  1. Jordan comprises 77 per cent of former Palestine;
  2. Jordan’s population overwhelmingly comprises Arabs born in Eastern or Western Palestine; and
  3. Jordan and Israel are the two successor states in former Palestine exercising sovereignty over 94 per cent of that territory. It is only in the West Bank and Gaza (6 per cent of former Palestine) that sovereignty remains unallocated between Jews or Arabs.

King Abdullah’s view that the two-state solution - the creation of a new sovereign Arab state between Israel and Jordan - is the only path to peace must be seriously questioned.

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About the Author

David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at

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All articles by David Singer

Creative Commons LicenseThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.

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