News has been swirling that important members of Fatah in Ramallah have been instructed to prepare for a new confederation between the ‘new state of Palestine’ and Jordan. This news was given more credibility after the visit of King Abdullah II to President Mahmoud Abbas after Palestine was recognized as a non-member observer state by the United Nations (UN) general assembly ballot.
Meanwhile, we are still licking the wounds caused by the Oslo catastrophe that has plagued us since twenty or so years, because the Oslo Accords lacked perception, they were shortsighted and bungled to the extent of criminal negligence. They also lacked the simplest principles of fairness, and any legal affirmation of Palestinian rights. More importantly, they lacked the approval of the Palestinian people, in spite of the guaranteed routine approval by loyal Fatah cadres.
Now they are talking about a confederation between ‘two states’, a byproduct of the UN decision that Palestine was a “state” in one fifth of its original territories. The voting for this new state by the UN general assembly did not come from a brilliant new stroke of diplomacy, but it was the non-colonialist international community reaffirming their support for the Palestinian people since 1974. The Palestinian territories are still very much occupied, so the formation of a new entity between the states is very dangerous in these circumstances. The first risk is Israel using its oppressive expulsive policies to force a mass displacement of people to the east bank of the river Jordan, especially the bright minded and the rich, leaving the weaker group victim to all forms of Israel’s apartheid and segregation, without them having a true state to protect them.
The second risk is that the Palestinian part of the equation would be forced to recognize the 1994 Wadi Araba Treaty of peace, either through the fait accompli or legally. This is something that was rejected by the Palestinians for decades, despite their weak state. What’s more, this peace treaty actually cancels the right of return, even though it is an inalienable right not to be bartered at any price, to replace it with a ‘humanitarian’ solution (i.e. resettlement), and this will force the Palestinian statelet to embrace this sin, and the historical motto ‘Palestine is our land’ will become an empty phrase with no substance.
There is no doubt that Israel will seize this opportunity to get rid of our people remaining on their lands in the 1948 Palestinian lands, and move them using both explicit and subtle methods to the Palestinian statelet or to Jordan. This will make Netanyahu’s dream of turning Palestine into a ‘Jewish nation’ come true, and Jordan will inadvertently become the surrogate homeland. Embracing the Wadi Araba Treaty implies Palestinian acceptance of Israel’s control over the water resources, and their acceptance of the section that all the ‘non-Jordanian’ lands (the Palestinian lands) are Israeli lands, and the historic borders of Palestine are Israel’s borders.
We must not forget that the Wadi Araba Treaty supersedes any treaty that contradicts this treaty with Israel, including the Joint Defence Treaty, so in other words Jordan cannot sign or implement any agreement with any party before or after that does not implicitly protect Israel’s interests, and in addition to that, the Jordanian political stance, in terms of their treaty with Israel and their close relationship with the United States and the role they play in the Arab political sphere, will be imposed on the Palestinian statelet in order for it to play its role.
The Gaza Strip will in fact be out of the equation either because of geography or due to the animosity of both parties to Hamas and armed resistance. The hidden goal behind this project is to neutralize the political Islamic movements in Jordan and Palestine, and this is a natural consequence of the terms of the Wadi Araba Treaty. As for the Diaspora; which represents around 70% of the Palestinian people, it will be separated entirely from the Palestinian lands, and term ‘Palestinian state’ will mean less than one fifth of the Palestinian people, if Israel left any in the West Bank that is.
We have also received news that a number of Palestinian figures are in touch with international law bodies to draft a document for the new duo, and we also received news that the Jordanian delegation at the last UNESCO meeting in St. Petersburg had exclusive talks about Jerusalem with the Israeli delegation on the basis of it being under ‘Hashemite responsibility’, and did not cooperate with the Palestinian delegation to defend Jerusalem, as was the norm, and this led to an altercation between the two delegations.
Ziad Aldrees, permanent Saudi delegate to UNESCO, wrote an article in AlHayat in 5/12/2012 pointing out that ‘the latest struggle over Jerusalem is a Palestinian/Jordanian struggle’, as Jordan considers ‘the sovereignty over the holy sites is an inherent right entrusted to the Hashemite dynasty.’
We don’t want to go through how the West Bank was given to Jordan in 1950, or about its catastrophic fall in 1967, or how it was annexed from Jordan in 1988, it is a comprehensive subject.
It suffices to refer to the Alon project proposed after the 1967 setback, to annex the Jordan Valley and Jerusalem to Israel and giving two regions north and south of the West Bank to Jordan, and this draft is the basis of all the Israeli settlement projects.
The Palestinian Authority’s consideration of a confederation is not new, for it is one of the byproducts of Oslo, and it is the first step to what comes after. A book published by Pecdar institute in the mid nineties written by its head Mohammad Shtayyeh, who is close to President Mahmoud Abbas, suggested a confederation between the Palestinian statelet, Jordan and Israel modeled after the Benelux (between the Nederlands, Belgium and Luxembourg). Several Israeli studies have been published endorsing this principle and highlighting its benefits for Israel.
Arab unity is a longstanding dream of the Arab people, and when Palestine becomes an sovereign state on the entirety of its lands, populated by all the Palestinian people, a confederation with any Arab country including Jordan, with the entire Levant and Egypt and the rest of the Arab countries even, becomes a national duty. The reduction of Palestine to a fifth of its original territories and forcing it to recognize Israel is another sin to add to the sinners’ log.