Abdullah, pick up the phone
When all the wild, desperate, improbable solutions to a problem have been exhausted, there is nothing left to turn to but the obvious.
In respect to the Arab-Israel conflict, the “obvious” has been staring us in face for over 40 years. Encapsulated in the mantra “Two States for Two Peoples on Two Banks of the Jordan River,“ it has the distinction of being the most ignored testament to rationality and common sense in the history of international diplomacy.
An “invented ”nation the so-called Palestinians surely are, but given the world’s acceptance of their claim to sovereignty, it is on the shoulders of the world, not on Israel’s, that the realization of that aspiration rests.
Indeed, if it’s solely a National Home for which the so-called Palestinians yearn, rather than the liquidation of the Jewish National Home, such an abode – fully furnished –already exists east of the Jordan River. “Jordan” it may be called, but encompassing 77 percent of Biblical Israel expropriated by the British and handed over to a Hashemite desert potentate, it is a “Palestinian State” in the purest post-Biblical sense of the term.
That this de facto “Palestinian State” with its 70 percent Palestinian Arab majority should be allowed to stand on the sidelines, like some kibbitzer at an interminable diplomatic poker game, exempt from any material obligation toward its compatriots, boggles the mind.
Gratuitous advice can no longer be accepted as currency for Jordan King Abdullah’s unsettled debt of responsibility for the “ingathering” of his Palestinian “Diaspora.” His assumption of it should begin by reinstating the Jordanian nationality of hundreds of thousands of Arabs resident in Judea and Samaria wiped off the by King Hussein, his father, in 1988, in brazen contempt of Jordan’s 1954 nationality law. This unappealable disenfranchisement without notice has more recently been intensified for thousands more, including Arabs of Palestinian origin who have lived in Jordan since the Six-Day War. Viewed as especially vulnerable to the same treatment are the more than 200,000 Palestinian-origin Jordanian migrant workers expelled from Kuwait in 1991 in the wake of Operation Desert Storm.
Jordan claims its citizen annulment policy is motivated by a desire to reinforce the victims’ “Palestinian birthright” and their right to return to the “West Bank.” Insiders suspect the real reason is the monarchy’s desire to rid itself of excess population weight on a stagnant economy, with the eventual hope of unloading the problem on Israel’s doorstep as part of a Middle East peace agreement
Meanwhile, the newly minted non-citizens face a bleak future. Jordanian law prohibits the state from employing them. A similar law, requiring proof of nationality, virtually disbars them from employment in the private sector. The outlook for professionals is classical Catch 22. They can’t practice law, medicine or any other calling without being members of the corresponding professional associations. And the latter can’t admit them unless they’re Jordanian citizens.
The United States, King Abdullah’s chief political and financial prop, has consigned its humanitarian instincts to cold storage in the face of this brutal Jordanian onslaught against its citizenry. As far as the Obama White House is concerned, the Hashemite monarchy, the only true second party to its vaunted “two-state solution,” remains not only free of involvement, but free to further exacerbate the problem it was ostensibly designed to resolve. That charade must end. Moreover, having made the Palestinian issue the fulcrum of its Middle East policy, the United States should bring every material and diplomatic resource at its disposal to the aid of its favorite king in fulfilling his national obligation. That might well be worth the institution of a modern-day “Marshall Plan” to finance the repatriation and resettlement of the Palestinian Arabs in their homeland on the east bank of the Jordan.
There is no better time than now to begin that process.