Should—and will—Palestinians seek a confederation with Jordan? Daoud Kuttab, a leading Palestinian journalist, writes in the Atlantic that it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
Kuttab uses as his foundation a statement from former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who told him during an interview in 1993 that he envisioned Palestine becoming a part of Jordan.
Other evidence used by Kuttab to demonstrate his point includes a speech given by Taher al Masri, Jordan’s Prince Hassan bin Talal, who said in a recent speech that the West Bank is part of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which includes “both banks of the [Jordan] River.” Bin Talal added that he “did not personally oppose the two-state solution,” but that the solution is irrelevant at the current stage.
Also in October, former PLO leader Farouk al Qadoumi, one of the founders of the PLO’s Fatah movement, gave an interview to the London-based Al Quds Al Arabi in which he suggested the return of the West Bank to Jordanian control as part of a federation or a confederation. A PLO official rejected the idea but as Kuttab writes “earlier this month, Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported that Abbas informed several PLO leaders ‘to be prepared for a new confederation project with Jordan and other parties in the international community.’”
The idea isn’t so out of hand, and would even make sense to many, Kuttab writes. “With the Israelis claiming that the Palestinians might repeat the Gaza rocket problem if they withdraw from the West Bank, the idea of a Jordanian security role in the West Bank can defuse such Israeli concerns.”
But, despite this fact, it seems an unlikely prospect. “The suggestion that Jordan returns to a direct role that can include sovereign control (and therefore responsibility) for the West Bank is a long shot for most Palestinians — and more importantly, Jordanians,” Kuttab writes.