Four major developments in the past week have heightened expectations that President Trump will have no option but to call on Jordan and Israel to negotiate the allocation of sovereignty between their two respective States in the West Bank and Gaza – 5% of the territory comprised in the 1922 League of Nations Mandate for Palestine (Mandate) .
Jordan and Israel are the two successor States to the Mandate currently exercising sovereignty in the other 95% of the Mandate territory – Jordan 78%, Israel 17%.
Jordan-Israel negotiations – if successfully concluded – would complete the two-state solution first contemplated under article 25 of the Mandate. Arab and Jewish claims to the Mandate territory would be finally resolved.
These four developments were:
1. The G77 and China – comprising 135 of the 193 United Nations member states – appointed the non-existing “State of Palestine” as Chairman of the G77 for 2019 and procured the passage of a United Nations General Assembly Resolution giving this phantom “State of Palestine” the right to:
(a) Make statements on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, including among representatives of major groups;
(b) Submit proposals and amendments and introduce them on behalf of the Group of 77 and China;
(c) Co-sponsor proposals and amendments;
(d) Make explanations of vote on behalf of the States Members of the United Nations that are members of the Group of 77 and China;
(e) Reply regarding positions of the Group of 77 and China;
(f) Raise procedural motions, including points of order and requests to put proposals to the vote, on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
US Ambassador to the UN – Nikki Haley – re-iterated America’s long-standing position:
“The United States does not recognize a Palestinian state, notes that no such state has been admitted as a UN Member State, and does not believe that the Palestinians are eligible to be admitted as a UN Member State.”
The PLO has chosen the United Nations fantasyland to push its agenda in preference to negotiating with Israel under Trump’s proposed plan – simultaneously rejecting the Montevideo Convention requirements necessary for statehood in international law.
11 other UN member states embraced this nonsensical resolution, whilst the remaining 47 voted: Against (3), Abstained (15), or Did Not Vote (29).
2. US Secretary of State – Mike Pompeo – announced that the U.S. Embassy Jerusalem and U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem would be merged into a single diplomatic mission.
This was Trump’s response to the UN’s embrace of the “State of Palestine”.
3. President Trump sent World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder as his personal envoy to Jordan.
Lauder's visit reportedly occurred without the knowledge of Israel or Trump’s Special Middle East Negotiators – Jared Kushner and Jason Greenblatt.
Jordan received $690 million in US aid in 2018 – to be boosted by a 27% increase for each of the next five years. Lauder would have reminded Jordan’s King Abdullah that Trump’s policy could see this aid reduced if Jordan refuses to negotiate with Israel.
4. King Abdullah gave Israel twelve months’ notice of Jordan’s intention to not renew twenty-five year leases of two areas denoted as “Special Regimes” in the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty.
Israel is entitled to request that consultations be entered into – as Israel undoubtedly will – since Israeli private land ownership rights and property interests are affected in one area and Israeli private land use rights in the other.
These Special Regimes would become important bargaining chips in Jordan – Israel negotiations on the West Bank and Gaza over the next 12 months.
Any Trump peace proposal not requiring direct Jordan –Israel negotiations will be dead in the water from the get-go.
(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. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog)