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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Jordan's king worried Israel is pushing "Jordan is Palestine"

Jordan's King Abdullah was interviewed by the Washington post at the World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea this week. He says some interesting things when he talks about Israel:


I heard that Hamas’s leader, Khaled Meshal, is coming to Jordan.
Because of the loss of Egypt’s political leadership, the rest of us are having to step up. On the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Jordan’s relationship with the Palestinians has had to take a step forward.
You support Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s request for U.N. membership?
Yes, we do. It is out of desperation and frustration that they are going to the U.N. I think part of the problem is that in the U.S., you have your other [domestic] priorities.. . .
I think the [Obama] administration would be very wary to step out front without guarantees on the Israeli-Palestinian process, which is a shame because it is desperately needed now.
[The Arab Spring] is a disaster for Israel, isn’t it?
Don't you love leading questions?
You have seen what has happened in Egypt [and] Turkey. We are actually the last man standing with our relationship with Israel.
The Israelis are worried the Egyptians will break the [peace] treaty.
That is a very, very strong possibility.
Do you intend to support Jordan’s treaty with Israel?
We have a peace treaty with Israel and will continue to do so because it helps both parties.
A lot of Israelis think your recent statements have been hostile.
What I am saying is they are missing an opportunity here and I am very concerned. This is the most frustrated I have ever been about the peace process. I think a lot of us have come to the conclusion that this particular [Israeli] government is not interested in a two-state solution.
What did you think of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s deal with Hamas to release an Israeli soldier ?
It is politics at the end of the day.
It was strange for Israel to be negotiating with Hamas.
I think all of us have been asking each other, what is the Israeli government’s true intention right now? Since I am not convinced there is an interest in a two-state solution, the question I am asking is: What is Plan B?
According to Palestine Press Agency, Abdullah accused Netanyahu of pushing the "Jordan is Palestine" idea and overthrowing the Jordanian government to replace it with Palestinians.

I believe that the newspaper is misinterpreting a Ma'ariv article about the interview. Ma'ariv quotes some Western intelligence officials that Avigdor Lieberman is pushing the "Jordan is Palestine" idea where Arabs in the West Bank would become Jordanian nationals. The Ma'ariv report goes on to say that Hamas is looking to relocate its headquarters from Syria to Amman, which would pave the way for a Palestinian takeover of Jordan - and that Israel would support it!

I have been told by a well-known Jordanian dissident that the fear of the "Jordan is Palestine" plan is very high in Jordan - and that many secular Palestinian Arabs support the idea, as an alternative to Jordan falling to an Arab Spring-type theocracy. In other words, the theory goes, secular Palestinian Arabs would be a much better - and democratic - alternative to the Hashemites who are, they say, cooperating with the Islamists.

Obviously Israel would not want Hamas in Amman, and if Abdullah is making that claim then perhaps he is trying to stymie the secular Palestinian Arabs in Jordan by associating them with Hamas as well as with Zionists. Taken in this light, Abdullah's words turn from pragmatic-sounding to an Arab dictator who wants to save his own skin.

(h/t Yoel)