Jordan’s re-entry into West Bank looms large as Trump dumps PLO.

Two major developments this past week could see a large part of Judaea and Samaria (West Bank) being reunified with Jordan – as existed between 1950 and 1967 – or becoming a Jordanian enclave – under President Trumps’ yet-to-be- announced “ultimate deal” intended to resolve the100 years-old Arab-Jewish conflict.

Those developments were:

  1. Trump immediately stopped all further American financial aid to UNRWA:

The PLO refused to have anything to do with Trump’s slowly-gestating peace proposals after Trump recognised Jerusalem as Israel’s capital in December 2017.

This PLO anti-Trump stance has continued unabated despite US Ambassador to the United Nations – Nikki Haley – publicly warning the PLO last January when asked about future US funding for the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Arab refugees:

“The President has basically said he doesn’t want to give any additional funding, or stop funding, until the Palestinians agree to come back to the negotiation table. We still very much want to have a peace process. Nothing changes with that. The Palestinians now have to show they want to. As of now, they’re not coming to the table, but they ask for aid. We’re not giving the aid. We’re going to make sure that they come to the table.”

This week Trump gave up waiting – ending all future donations to UNRWA including $300 million pledged for this year.

More than 2 million UNRWA registered Palestinian Arab refugees live in Jordan – most of whom have full citizenship. Nearly 370,000 – or 18 per cent – live in 10 refugee camps.

The West Bank has nearly 775,000 UNRWA registered Palestinian Arab refugees – a quarter of who live in 19 camps.

Trump’s proven propensity for financially helping those States that help him achieve his goals could well see a large part of this retired UNRWA funding being redirected to Jordan – if Jordan replaces the PLO and enters into direct negotiations with Israel on finally resolving sovereignty in the West Bank.

  1. The PLO announced it had refused Trump’s proposal to create a Jordan-West Bank confederation:

Israel and the PLO have been unable to agree on the creation of an additional Arab State between Israel and Jordan after fruitless negotiations conducted over the last 25 years.

Rejecting a Jordan-West Bank confederation now sees the PLO hoisted by its own petard– leaving Jordan to fill the yawning diplomatic void by stepping in and negotiating with Israel to engineer Jordan’s return to a large part of the West Bank – occupied by Jordan from 1948 until its loss to Israel in the 1967 Six Day War.

Restoring Jordanian citizenship to the West Bank Arab population – as existed between 1950 and 1988 – would once again see parity of rights re-established between the Arab populations spanning both sides of the Jordan River.

The 29 refugee camps in Jordan and the West Bank could be closed and their inhabitants integrated into the general population. “Palestinian refugees” would be relics of the past.

No Arab or Jew living in the West Bank would be forced to move.

Palestinian Arabs residing in other Arab countries could emigrate to this newly-merged Jordan-West Bank entity – which might even choose to rename itself “Palestine” – comprising as it would about 80% of the territory contained in the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. Israel would end up exercising sovereignty in about 19 per cent – leaving sovereignty in the remaining 1 per cent – Gaza – to be determined by Israel, Jordan and Egypt.

As with any good settlement – no-one would be 100 per cent happy – but 100 years of conflict would be ended and Trump would have pulled off yet another stunning success.

(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)

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David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International.

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8 comments

  1. Welcome to the Mad Hatter’s crazy Tea Party. Maybe the PLO, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad will now settle for a takeover of Jordan and leave Israel in peace at long last? All that’s needed is for Egypt to take back sovereignty in Gaza and we’ll be back in time for green tea on June 4th 1967.

    • Problem is Egypt wants no part of Gaza.
      Israel should have NEVER left.

    • Israel has made it abundantly clear that it will never agree to recreating the territorial situation that existed at 4 June 1967. Some variant perhaps – but not the full monty.

      • I would certainly hope not, David. My initial thoughts were not aimed at the Israeli administration, but rather questioned Mr Trump’s obsession with his deal of the century, and also wondered how certain pan- Arab dreamers and/or Islamic Caliphate players might view things?

        However, as I understand it, King Abdullah has made it clear that Jordan wants nothing to do with this old-new proposal as Jordan views Jordan and “Palestine” as two distinct and separate entities? And, the fact that “Palestine” is not an actual state renders all talk of any confederation somewhat mute, wouldn’t you say?

        It also seems likely the PA is in tatters and ripe for takeover by none other than Hamas?

        Besides, neither Jordan nor Egypt are likely to want to take on this toxic situation regardless of the money POTUS Trump cares to throw their way. Who in their right minds would want to do business with terror organisations such as the PLO, Palestinian Jihad and Hamas that will likely set out to destroy them?

        • The PLO has signed its own death warrant by refusing to have anything to do with Trump’s proposal even before they know what is in it.

          Jordan is a little bit more circumspect. It seems to me a lot of pressure by Trump is being put on Jordan to enter into negotiations with Israel. I do not think Jordan is in any position to tell Trump to go and whistle – especially as Jordan would be afforded an opportunity to recover land it lost to Israel in 1967.

          • It seems to me that the same mistakes are being made here as were made at Oslo and no one is asking what happens if or, rather when things go wrong with their finely crafted roadmaps. The precise problems are the PLO, and Fatah, and the PFLP, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas, and the Muslim Brotherhood, and Hezbollah.
            Neither of whom seriously want real peace, and, until the issue of terrorist warlords being sole leaders of Arab Palestinians is taken off the table completely, we can all whistle Dixie. Even then I would still continue to ask who in their right minds would willingly turn their backs on these war criminals and sleep soundly?

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