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Did Jordanian Leader Float Annexation?

The ‘Jordan as Palestinian state’ trope

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The River Jordan.(Wikipedia)

Tuesday was Jordan’s independence day—the League of Nations mandate for Transjordan, as Israeli history buffs should know, was lifted on May 25, 1947—and on the occasion, the head of the country’s senate made a few interesting remarks. Specifically, he called for a Jordan “of two united banks, with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan emerging on both banks of the holy river”—that is, a country whose borders encompass not just its current area, east of its eponymous river, but area west of it, too.

But this is actually far more complicated than a simple expansionist statement directed against the Jewish state. In fact, Senator Taher al-Masri probably does not have Israel in mind at all.

Something you will hear from time to time on the Israeli and American right is that Jordan is the Palestinian state. Without getting into the historic or ethnic validity of that statement (to say nothing of its moral angle), for a time, Jordan maintained this line as well, until it strategically disowned it after 1987’s First Intifada. So Al-Masri’s statement is quite loaded: He may be implying that Jordan is the rightful home of the Palestinian people, and that the resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict could involve Jordan’s annexation of Palestinian-inhabited land in the West Bank. Which, depending on where the line is drawn, could make many on the Israeli right—though probably not the religious right—quite happy.

In fact, it could—again, depending on where the lines are drawn—mesh with a recent statement from Al-Masri’s Israeli analog, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin. A Likudnik, Rivlin said that he would prefer a one-state solution with all Palestinian Israelis gaining full citizenship than a two-state solution. It is easy to see how Al-Masri and Rivlin are at direct odds here. It is likewise not particularly difficult to see how their visions could be reconciled.

To be very clear, and so you don’t email me angrily: I am not endorsing Jordanian annexation of the West Bank; personally, I believe there are massive practical and moral problems with it, not least that the West Bank Palestinians would likely find themselves hugely and permanently screwed over by it. However, the fact that a prominent Jordanian politician seemed to float the idea strikes me as strategically and especially politically significant. You may hear more about it, is all.

Jordanian Official Speaks of ‘State of Two Banks’ [Ynet]
Israeli Official: Accepting Palestinian States into Israel Better Than Two States [Haaretz]

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Richard Friedman says:

Since Jordan and Egypt already have made peace with Israel, the best solution is for the West Bank to go back to Jordan and Gaza to Egypt. A separate Palestinian state is not necessary and is a really bad idea (unless you like a permanent state of war).

michael says:

It would be refreshing if a leader was willing to back up a bold statement that could provide stability with action, and not just use it as solid rhetoric in a political posture.

Rebecca Shepard says:

My parents were alive and well in WWII (my Dad fought in it).

Jordan they told me WAS the country given to Palestinians! They have a country much larger than the small footprint of Israel but Arabs will NOT be happy till they own ALL of Israel! It is a disgrace Muslims control the access our our ancestors tombs in Hebron! If Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob were alive, they would NOT tolerate this!

Ben Pincus says:

Few ask the obvious question: the country was called Trans-Jordan and changed its name to Jordan. What happened? Jordan was carved out of the League of Nations British Mandate for Palestine in 1922, illegally, by Winston Churchill, and given to Abdullah, one of the sons of Hussein of Mecca to whom the infamous McMahon Letter was written. It was called Trans-Jordan at its independence—’trans’ the Latin word for ‘across’ as a shorthand for “that part of Palestine ACROSS the Jordan River”—the east bank! After the war of 1948, Jordan ended up in possession of territory on the west bank of the Jordan. It illegally annexed that teritory—in a move only recognized by Britain and itself—and changed its name to Jordan to avoid the contradiction. Israel captured that territory, disputed since 1949, in 1967. Suddenly it became known as the “West Bank” as if it was legitimately “that part of Jordan on the west bank of the river.” It has never been Jordanian TERRITORY TO BEGIN WITH.

How many Palestinians did King Hussein kill in Black September? It certainly numbers well into the thousands. How long before the monarchy was deposed by the Palestinians, if something like this were to happen?

That’s why, as The New York Times reported on March 13, 2010, that the Jordanian government is expelling thousands of Jordanians of Palestinian background.

They know how tenuous their grip on power is. Just like their neighbors, the Assads.

FW, your statement is partial and incomplete. The Jordanian army showed great restraint – at the urging of HM King Hussein – when the PLO was trying to take over Jordan militarily. When this tension reached breaking point, the Jordanian army did was was necessary to preserve its country. Which other Arab country granted Palestinians the right to acquire its citizenship?

SOME INFO I THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW.. IN WAR THERE IS ALWAYS CASUALTIES! Don’t mistake that for killings of Palestinians! The late king hussein did not murder anyone! Jordan is not and never was Palestine! Everyone seems to be grasping for straws that if they say that enough somehow magically it would become true! Again Jordan is not Palestine. for those that have been mislead to believe that it is true! Just do your research! Don’t be misguided educate yourself. Btw Jordan was never given to Palestinians either but Jordan did help them out due to the fact their land was under occupation and they had no where to go!

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Did Jordanian Leader Float Annexation?

The ‘Jordan as Palestinian state’ trope

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