Israel Annexation Plan: Jordan’s Existential Threat

“A haunting reminder to all mankind of man’s inexplicable cruelty towards his fellow man.” ~King Hussein of Jordan

More than any other Arab state, Jordan’s past, present and future are inextricably linked to the question of Palestine. Jordan’s emergence is an outcome of British imperialism, which imposed the infamous Balfour Declaration and the Zionist settler-colonial project on the indigenous population of Palestine and the region. 

“ORIGIN OF TWO COUNTRIES They say Churchill said: “Jordan was an idea I had one spring at about four-thirty in the afternoon.”

The fact is that during the month of March 1921, in just three days, British Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill and his forty advisers drew a new map for the Middle East.

They invented two countries, named them, appointed their monarchs, and sketched their borders with a finger in the sand.

Thus the land embraced by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the clay of the very first books, was called Iraq.

And the new country amputated from Palestine was called Transjordan, later Jordan.

The task at hand was to change the names of colonies so they would at least appear to be Arab kingdoms.

And to divide those colonies, to break them up: an urgent lesson drawn from imperial memory.

While France pulled Lebanon out of a hat, Churchill bestowed the crown of Iraq on the errant Prince Faisal, and a plebiscite ratified him with suspicious enthusiasm: he got 96 percent of the vote.

His brother Prince Abdullah became king of Jordan.

Both monarchs belonged to a family placed on the British payroll at the recommendation of Lawrence of Arabia.

The manufacturers of countries signed the birth certificates of Iraq and Jordan in Cairo’s Semiramis Hotel, and then went out to see the pyramids.

Settler-colonialism is the essence of the question of Palestine. All else is derivative.

Jordan emerged out of this historical reality, and therefore, its present and future will always be subject to it.

The founder of present-day Jordan, Emir Abdullah bin Al-Hussein, successfully carved a new sovereign space in Transjordan.

But this was only possible because of his cooperation with British imperialism and “collusion” with Zionist settler-colonialism.

This tacit relationship resulted in mutual restraint between Jordan and Israel, even during their direct military confrontations.

National security interest

In 1994, Jordan and Israel signed the Wadi Araba peace treaty, turning their tacit understandings and secretive relationship into an official peace between the two countries – even if an unpopular one.

This peace treaty would have been inconceivable without the 1993 Oslo Accord and the implied promise of Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza, which were occupied in 1967 from Jordan and Egypt respectively, to establish an independent Palestinian state.

Land repatriation and Palestinian statehood hold a high national security interest for Jordan.

Only the achievement of these two conditions can halt the border elasticity of the Israeli state and its expansion eastwards, which poses grave geographic and demographic threats to the Hashemite kingdom.

Besides the strategic significance, a Palestinian state would allow a substantial number of Palestinian refugees displaced in 1967 to return to the West Bank, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 237.

Yet, not only have neither of the two conditions been realized, but regional and international political dynamics have changed since 1994.

 In Israel, the political landscape has dramatically shifted to the far right, fueling the settler-colonial practice of creating “facts on the ground” that make the prospect of Palestinian statehood and self-determination via the “peace process” a remote fantasy.

The political and material developments on the ground are complemented by complex regional and international dynamics. In particular, the Trump administration has taken a new approach towards most international conflicts, especially in the Middle East.

The Trump-Netanyahu plan (aka “the deal of century”) for Israel-Palestine promotes Israeli colonization/annexation of the West Bank and sovereignty over the entirety of historic Palestine, as well as the Syrian Golan Heights.

Shifting geopolitics

Even worse for Jordanians and Palestinians, this plan enjoys the support of influential Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have stepped up their political rapprochement and normalization with Israel.

The EU, a staunch supporter and sponsor of the so-called peace process and two-state solution, failed not only to reach a common position on the US plan, but also to condemn Israel’s plans to officially annex any part of the West Bank.

Amid the changing international and regional politics, Jordan’s alliance with the US and EU has been a letdown. Jordan has become a victim of its own foreign and security policy, which has grown interlinked with the US and, more recently, the EU.

While half of this alliance, the US, is promoting Israel’s annexation and sovereignty over Palestine, the other half, the EU, is unwilling to act decisively.

The annexation is planned to take place while the entire world, including Jordanians and Palestinians, and the media are exhausted by the coronavirus pandemic.

It provides the needed distraction for Israel to complete the annexation quietly, without effective local and international scrutiny and resistance.

Covid-19 has further entrenched the nationalist-driven trend in the Middle East. Even before the outbreak, the Arab world was consumed by domestic concerns, showing few qualms about the Trump-Netanyahu plan or recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem and the Golan Heights.

Israeli expansionism

The feeble Arab (including Palestinian and Jordanian) and international response to the US recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the relocation of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, has encouraged Israel and the US to press ahead and turn Israel’s de facto sovereignty over all of Palestine into de jure.

While this is all illegal under international law, it is a mistake to believe that empirical reality and time will not deflect, strain and fracture international law and legality.

Since 1967, the Israeli strategy has pivoted on two parallel components: empirical colonization on the ground, coupled with the facade of a “peace and negotiations” public relations campaign to obfuscate the settler-colonial structure and market it to the international community, as well as Arab regimes.

With this strategy, Israel has expanded in the region both territorially, by de facto taking over Arab land, and politically, through overt and covert relations with most of the Arab states.

Only formal territorial annexation and gradual de-Palestinisation remains.

The formal annexation of the West Bank, especially the Jordan Valley, officially torpedoes the century-old Jordanian foreign and security strategy of cooperation with its imperial patrons (Britain, then the US) and the Zionist movement, which evolved into a Jordanian-Israeli peace with an expected Palestinian buffer state between the two.

Another ethnic cleansing

It also puts Jordan face-to-face with a new reality with alarming cartographic and demographic consequences.

The chances of another ethnic cleansing become a palpable prospect under the formulae of official annexation and a Jewish statehood in the entirety of Palestine, as articulated in the 2018 nation-state law meant to ensure a Jewish majority.

This is very much tied in with Jordanian fears grounded in previous (1948, 1967) and current experiences of forced migration in the Middle East.

Against this backdrop, another ethnic cleansing in the West Bank, forcing a large number of Palestinians to flee to Jordan, is a real possibility.

The transfer and elimination of Palestinians from Palestine are embedded in the settler-colonial structure of the Israeli state, which looks at Jordan as their alternative homeland.

While another population flow would be catastrophic for Palestinians, it would also adversely affect Jordan’s stability and future.

Beyond annexation, the Hashemite regime is witnessing a contestation of its custodianship of the Muslim and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, which constitute a significant source of legitimacy for the regime.

Even on this matter, the US plan unequivocally appoints Israel as the “custodian of Jerusalem”.

After five decades, Israel’s grip over and presence in the West Bank is ubiquitous and entrenched. Most of the West Bank is empirically annexed and Judaised, especially the Jordan Valley, Greater Jerusalem, parts of Hebron and Gush Etzion. The pretence of the peace process and negotiations has thus become superfluous.

‘Considering all options’ 

Only against this background may one understand the depth of the trepidations that underlie the warning of King Abdullah II that the Israeli annexation will trigger a “massive conflict” with Jordan and that he is “considering all options” in response.

This warning does not reveal a strategy to respond to what constitutes a “direct threat to Jordan’s sovereignty and independence”, as the former foreign minister of Jordan, Marwan Muasher, put it.

It displays, however, the difficult decisions that have to be taken. Indeed, King Hussein was prepared to discontinue the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty had Israel refused to supply the antidote for the poison its agents had used in an attempt to assassinate Khaled Meshaal, the former head of Hamas, in 1997.

It remains to be seen whether the termination or suspension of this treaty and the realignment of alliances are currently options for Jordan.

The Jordanian response to Covid-19 has generated a unique, popular rally around the state – a perfect opportunity to conduct serious reforms to stamp out corruption and involve citizens in the decision-making process, in order to forge a nationally grounded response to Israel’s planned annexation of the West Bank.

Historically, the survival of the Hashemite kingdom has been at stake several times.

But today, Jordan finds itself in an unprecedented political, security, economic and health emergency.

Whatever domestic, economic and foreign-policy decisions – or indecisions – that Jordan takes are likely to leave a long-lasting mark on the future of Jordan and the question of Palestine.

Such existential decisions must be collective, with broader national consensus and real citizen participation.

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Israel’s countdown to achieve the ‘alternative homeland’ in Jordan begins

“If the king opens his mouth, Israel will turn off the water tap and leave the kingdom to go thirsty”

The plan to turn Jordan into a Palestinian homeland and to give Israel complete control over the historic land of Palestine is regularly rehashed by the Israeli right whenever there is international pressure, however minimal, on Israel to stop its expansionism.

January 1, 2020

The Israeli right is preparing to present a plan to overthrow the Jordanian king after annexing the Jordan Valley in the West Bank to realize the dream of Jordan being converted to Palestine.

They aim to establish a confederation between the PA and “Palestinian Jordan” because the Israeli right is interested in annexing the West Bank without the millions of Palestinians within it. Forcing them to head to Jordan.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper revealed in late December the Israeli right-wing’s approaches and plans, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

This is based on the claims that Israel has major plans for Jordan, but these plans do not include the same king.

Image result for devil pushes humpty off the wall"

This is evidenced by several articles and reports written by right-wing Israeli writers this month who all present similar justifications and results, the main of them all is to destroy the peace treaty with Jordan.

Right-wing Israelis believe that annexing the Jordan Valley is a tactical operation aimed at hitting two Israeli birds with one stone: the first is to work to annex the West Bank and cancel the peace agreement with Jordan, and the second is to topple the Hashemite royal family and to embody the dream of Jordan being Palestine.

It is interesting that this dream is shared by all the Israeli right, with all its components and currents, because they are enthusiastic supporters of the idea that Jordan is Palestine. The ruling Israeli right has begun to detest King Abdullah II.

When King Abdullah is shamefully toppled, Israel will be able to complete its annexation of the West Bank and establish a confederation between the Palestinian Authority and “Palestinian Jordan”.

Moreover, according to the Israeli perception, when that happens, the Palestinians in the West Bank will obtain political rights in Jordan.

According to this Israeli theory, when the Palestinian state is established in Jordan, the Palestinians can resolve their issue, put an end to their suffering and stop using armed operations against Israel, because since 1988, Palestinians in the West Bank have been able to obtain temporary Jordanian passports.

It is worth noting that the Israeli approach may contradict Jordan’s interest in reducing the total number of Palestinians in the kingdom because it refuses at the moment to receive Palestinian refugees from Syria in the way it allowed Syrian and Iraqi refugees to seek refuge on its soil.

Perhaps such aspirational Israeli calls towards Jordan are encouraged by the fact that the two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is no longer practical or realistic.

Meanwhile, there are claims that the alternative solution is the establishment of an Arab Palestinian state east of the Jordan River, which will achieve peace between Israel and Palestine.

They also claim that the river can be used to transport goods and products from either side, with the Israeli Jewish state on one side and the Arab Palestinian country on the other, side by side.

READ: Israeli AG warns Netanyahu of annexing Jordan Valley and West Bank settlements

There is another Israeli scenario of Jordan hosting more Palestinians and instead of the kingdom becoming a Palestinian republic, they become citizens with full rights in the Hashemite Kingdom.

The return of Gilad Sharon after a long absence was noteworthy. He is the son of the late Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who had strong relations with the late King Hussein, King Abdullah’s father.

Gilad Sharon returned to claim that the current Jordanian ling would not dare to oppose the annexation of the Jordan Valley by Israel, because Israel has him by his weak spot and the continuation of his rule depends on Israel.

He also said that if the king opened his mouth, Israel would turn off the water tap and leave the kingdom to go thirsty.

All these are efforts to drive the king to cancel the peace agreement with Israel and allow Tel Aviv to remove him.

King Abdullah finds himself caught between the anger of the Jordanian public and Israel.

The situation of his government has become really difficult because his country’s budget is suffering, the sources of income are declining, the Gulf states, which have always been a source of support for Jordan, have reduced their aid, and millions of Arab refugees have flocked to the kingdom in recent years.

In spite of the increase of tensions between Jordan and Israel over the past year, security coordination between them continues as usual and the intelligence cooperation is at its best.

This raises questions about the king failing to use this card to pressure Israel unless this cooperation serves him and not the kingdom.

 

 

The “Liquidation” of Palestinian Cause

To dispossess a people, steal their land, demolish their buildings and then complacently inhabit the confiscated space in reciprocal view of the victims requires a carefully cultivated myopia apparent at all levels of Israeli discourse.

“Israel’s” early leaders saw the Hashemite entity as both a buffer between Israel and the rest of the Arab world, and a state that could absorb those Palestinian refugees who fled or were expelled during the Zionist invasion  of 1948 and the Six Day war in 1967.

Jordan is not Palestine


Amman (AFP) – Jordan’s King Abdullah II firmly rejects the idea of a confederation with the Palestinians in the place of a two-state solution to the Middle East conflict, the royal court said Wednesday.

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas told activists Sunday that White House aides Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt had proposed the idea of a confederation with Jordan, one of the activists said.

Hagit Ofran of Israel’s Peace Now NGO reported Abbas as saying he had told the US officials, who are working on a peace plan, that he would only be interested if Israel was also part of such a confederation.

Abbas’s office confirmed the meeting with Israeli peace activists had taken place, but did not confirm his comments on the confederation.

Neighbouring Jordan, along with most of the international community, has long supported a two-state solution to the long-running conflict.

“Every year we hear about a confederation. My question is: a confederation with whom? This is a red line for Jordan,” King Abdullah said, according to a palace statement.

“Jordan’s position is firm and steadfast: there is no alternative to the two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital,” he said.

Israel is an imperial outpost, an extension of Wall Street and the City of London in the Middle East. That’s the origin of “Israel.”

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“Any proposal outside this framework has no value.”

Palestinians see the idea of a confederation as destroying their long-held dream of a state.

But some on the Israeli right see the establishment of a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation as a way to avoid the creation of an independent Palestinian state.

They argue that it would also absolve Israel of any responsibility towards the 3.5 million Palestinians in the West Bank, currently under Israeli military occupation.

The Palestinian Authority severed contact with Washington after President Donald Trump recognised Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in December.

In response, Trump said in January he would cut aid to the Palestinians in order to push them back to the negotiating table.

The US said Friday it would cease all funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) which helps some three million needy refugees across the Middle East.

Palestinian leaders see these moves as part of an effort to “liquidate” their cause.