Do Jordanians Want a Palestinian State?
Israel is reportedly considering applying sovereignty to territory in the West Bank. King Abdullah II of Jordan and his foreign minister both strongly oppose the annexation and describe it as illegal. There are reports that Benny Gantz will soon visit Amman to discuss the situation with our king.
All Arab countries are publicly opposing the annexation, but Jordan is at the center of this issue given its location and that it previously ruled the territories in question. Jordan is now using that unique position to take a number of steps against the Israeli move, especially in Washington and European capitals.
But do Jordanians support the eventual establishment of an independent armed Palestinian state on their borders?
One can’t simply forget the events of Black September in the 1970s or the Lebanese civil war of the 1980s, both of which were caused by the Palestinians. And then there’s all the smaller terrorist attacks and airplane hijackings by Palestinians. In short, we’ve come to know the Palestinians as a people who quickly turn to violence and terrorism given the opportunity.
Dr. Saud Al-Sharafat, director of the Sharafat Center for Globalization and Terrorism Studies and Research in Amman, is against the annexation process, and his position is the same as that of the Jordanian government and the king.
He says that the timing is inappropriate, and that the move will harm Israel’s long-term interests. This is especially true in regard to Israel’s relations with Jordan, which fears the “alternate homeland” scenario; this plan would see the forced transfer or displacement of Palestinians to Jordan. Dr. Al-Sharafat wants to see all parties return to the negotiating table under the auspices of the Americans.
Jordanian Awad Al-Maharmeh stated, “I am satisfied with saying that I do not support the establishment of an armed Palestinian state on the borders of Jordan, but Palestinian autonomy only.” As for Israel’s plans to annex some of the territory, on that topic, he refused to comment.
A Jordanian entrepreneur residing in Chile said, “Jordanian lands for me, as a Jordanian, are holy lands from the Jordan River to the borders of Saudi Arabia, from the borders of Syria and Iraq to Aqaba. But the Palestinian issue does not at all concern me.”
Laith Haddad is a Jordanian singer living in the United Arab Emirates. “I am in favor of an unarmed Palestinian state. … If a Palestinian state were to be established, it must be demilitarized,” he said. As for Israel annexing some of the territory, Haddad insisted that Israel didn’t have the right to do so. “However,” he added, “as a Christian, I also recognize that these lands have been Jewish since the time of the biblical Exodus.”
A retired engineer and professor of theology at a Christian college in Amman called Israel’s plans to annex the Jordan Valley another act of “occupation.” But he added that he “does not encourage the establishment of an Islamic Palestinian state west of the river. I prefer to see the West Bank under Jordanian guardianship, and let the Palestinians self-rule in a demilitarized state.”
Finally, Modar al-Momani, a Jordanian-born international journalist based in Jerusalem, said, “The safest solution is two neighboring states, which just like any two countries in the world, would be governed by international law. And this according to the 1967 border lines.”
Rami Dabbas is a civil engineer by profession who writes for several media outlets. He is a pro-Israel advocate, peace campaigner, and political activist speaking out against terrorism.
A version of this article was originally published by Israel Today.