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The “Arab Spring” revolutions seem to have bypassed the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan – at least for the time being. But for King Abdullah II of Jordan the long-term survival of his throne and that of the Hashemite monarchy is becoming more questionable. Jordan, a British creation, has never been an organic state but rather, is a concoction of Bedouin tribes and Palestinians, who by some estimates, comprise 70% of the population. It is therefore logical to assume that it may be just a matter of time before Jordan becomes a Palestinian State.
At this juncture in world history, it is imperative that the U.S. and its Western allies begin to examine the possibility of a Palestinian State with its capital being Amman. “Jordan is Palestine,” is not merely a slogan but rather the only realistic solution to the Arab (Palestinian)-Israeli conflict. Unlike the West Bank and Gaza, which are simply too small to contain a Palestinian population reputed to be nearly 4.3 million. Jordan’s 89,342 square kilometers, more than four times the size of Israel’s 20,770 square kilometers, would afford the Palestinians more than sufficient space and, some natural resources.
The Jordan River is and should be the natural border between the Palestinians and Israel – one that would provide security for Israel and allow the Palestinians to militarize. A militarized Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza, which is inevitable, would constitute a serious threat to Israel. Moreover, a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza would naturally attract irredentist elements amongst the Arabs in Israel’s Galilee that would further complicate the prospects of peace and security for Israel.
The two-state solution in the territory west of the Jordan River is a prescription for perpetual conflict between Arab-Palestinians and Jews. The close proximity of the Samaritan hills – which the Palestinians will claim – to Israel’s population centers and the Ben-Gurion International Airport, poses an existential threat to the Jewish State. Rather than have two people fighting over one small parcel of land, Arab-Palestinians and Jews would be able to share the historic land mass of Palestine the way it was before the British cut off its eastern portion in 1922 – east of the Jordan River – to establish the Emirate of Trans-Jordan, later to be known as the Hashemite Kingdom. Poetic justice and fairness would place Eastern Palestine, now called Jordan, in Palestinian hands, and Israel would retain Western Palestine. Arab residents of the Palestinian cities in the West Bank and Gaza will be part of the Palestinian State, and the Jordan River will separate the two states.
Dr. Larbi Sadiki, a senior lecturer on Middle East Politics at the University of Exeter wrote in Al-Jazeera (February 25, 2012) “What is most striking about Jordan’s durable pro-reform rioting, however, is its polyphony. Amid such noise, disunited tribes, Islamists, students, retired army officers, and former establishment figures are united in their cry for greater freedom and reform of the decaying monarchy. Jordan’s ‘Arab Spring’ remains a long way away, but the protest current that has taken root refuses to fade away until the king and queen do more than sell hope, image, and rhetoric.”
The defining element of dissent in Jordan is the growing dissatisfaction by the Bedouin tribes — long the bedrock of support of the royal regime, who are now in support of reform. The decentralized nature of the anti-government protest makes dissatisfaction difficult to contain; the esteem of the royal couple once considered as sacrosanct as that of the late King Hussein’s, is diminishing. There are republican sentiments expressed openly, and former establishment figures have taken an anti-establishment posture, demanding liberalization and an end to corruption.
The restive Palestinians in Jordan, cognizant of the Arab Spring and its impact in Egypt, Tunisia, and possibly Syria, where dictatorial and corrupt rulers have been overthrown by the people, are seeking a more open and fair society, and a democracy. The Palestinians, more so than the Bedouin tribesmen, are alienated from King Abdullah, whose mother was British. They have little loyalty towards the monarchy, especially for their Westernized king.
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