The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) – refusing to bow to pressure by President Trump to cease payments to terrorists and their families currently exceeding US$400 million annually – is looming as a potential threat to end 96 years of unbroken Hashemite rule in Jordan.
PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas – addressing the ninth annual Islamic Beit al-Maqdes International Conference in Ramallah last week – has sent a veiled message of the PLO’s intention to challenge Jordan’s ruling Hashemite family if PLO demands for a State in the West Bank with Jerusalem as its capital are not met.
Jordan comprised almost 77% of Palestine between 1920 and 1946 until granted independence by Great Britain and being renamed The Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan – subsequently being renamed Jordan in 1950 following Transjordan’s illegal annexation of Judea and Samaria in 1948 ( redesignated the West Bank).
This semantic sleight of hand could never change the historic and demographic reality that Jordan formed part of the territory comprised in the 1922 Mandate for Palestine – Jordan’s Crown Prince Hassan declaring in the Foreign Affairs Review in 1982:
“the Jordanians and Palestinians are now one people, and no political loyalty, however strong, will separate them permanently.”Abbas told the Ramallah Conference:
“In Palestine and Jordan, we are one people in two states and we will never accept an alternative homeland.”Abbas's statement mirrored PLO founder Yasser Arafat’s in Der Spiegel in 1986:
“Jordanians and Palestinians are indeed one people. No one can divide us. We have the same fate.”Farouk Kadoumi – the Head of the Political Department of the PLO – told Newsweek on 14 March 1977:
“Jordanians and Palestinians are considered by the PLO as one people.”Alleging flagrant bias towards Israel by the Trump Administration – Abbas defiantly declared:
“We are not expecting anything from them. We won’t accept anything from them.”Abbas is being incredibly naïve if he believes he can now convince the international community into accepting that one people needs two states – and that pursuing that goal should be internationally supported at the expense of achieving an end to a conflict that originated with the 1917 Balfour Declaration.
Abbas’s categorical rejection of an American role in ending the conflict by calling on the international community to help create a second Arab state in former Palestine – in addition to Jordan – has little chance of success.
Jordan’s King Abdullah should by now be under no illusion that the PLO’s quest to create a PLO-ruled State is doomed to failure. Abdullah should view with apprehension that Abbas’s remarks at the Ramallah Conference could again be laying the groundwork for another PLO attempt to overthrow Hashemite rule in Jordan – as unsuccessfully occurred in September 1970 and is prescribed by article 2 of the PLO Charter.
The solution proposed by Israel’s late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in The Australian on 27 May 1985 now takes on added significance:
“the Palestinians should have a sovereign State which includes most of the Palestinians. It should be Jordan with a considerable part of the West Bank and Gaza. East of the Jordan River there is enough room to settle the Palestinian refugees”Such a solution – negotiated between Israel and Jordan under the framework of their 1994 Peace Treaty – would see continuing Hashemite rule in Jordan being backed by Israel and America – stability sadly lacking presently in many failed Arab States such as Syria and Libya.
Abbas’s Ramallah statement has presented Jordan with a stark choice – negotiate with Israel or continue supporting the PLO and face the prospect of another attempt to overthrow Jordan’s ruling Hashemite dynasty.
Jordan’s decision should be a no-brainer.
[Author’s note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article – is by Yaakov Kirschen aka "Dry Bones" – one of Israel's foremost political and social commentators – whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades]