Peace talks with Abdullah in the middle

Kerry’s current peace plan was reportedly proposed by Jordan’s King Abdullah II to President Obama last year in order to keep Jordan from becoming recognized as Palestine.

 

Since January 8, 2014, the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper has published three reports on the alleged details of the Kerry peace plan.  Al-Quds Al-Arabi is one of the most prominent Arab newspapers and considered a major source of inside information on most Arab regimes. According to Al-Quds Al-Arabi, US Secretary of State John Kerry’s plan revolves around Jordan’s king settling Palestinian refugees living in Arab countries in his kingdom and in exchange he would receive $55 billion for “Jordan’s role in hosting refugees for over five decades”.

File:Secretary Kerry Meets With King Abdullah II Before World Economic Forum in Jordan.jpg

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador to Jordan Stuart E. Jones, meets with King Abdullah II ibn Al-Hussein, Dead Sea, Jordan, May 26, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons]


Al-Quds Al-Arabi
adds that the US administration sees Jordan’s role as the key to solving the refugees problem as it has been one of the most difficult obstacles to peace. Al-Quds Al-Arabi adds that Kerry’s plan includes the Palestinian Authority (PA) recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and Israel handing the West Bank to the PA. Settlements would be condensed to certain areas and 20 percent of settlers would be relocated. Israel would keep little over 6 percent in the West bank which will be substituted by 5.4 percent of land inside Israel being given to the PA.

On 19 January, Ynews reported that the current peace plan was proposed by Jordanian King Abdullah II
to US President Barack Obama last year in order to avoid Jordan becoming Palestine (i.e. Jordan’s king being toppled by his Palestinian majority). Ynews confirms that “This is how Kerry’s plan was born”.

A prominent Jordanian political activist and a renowned journalist told me: “This deal came from the King himself, the Americans think they could pull the peace agreement of the century by depending on the King, they just don’t know that he himself could not pull himself together, people are hungry and angry here and the Americans are betting on a dying horse”.

Furthermore, it is true that the issue of the refugees and the right of return has been a major obstacle to a peace agreement, but this is an issue in which Jordan’s king has no camel. The king himself is irrelevant to this entire matter; he is not a Palestinian, not a Jew nor an Israeli; in fact he holds no connections to the land as his family came from Saudi Arabia as refugees in 1921.

I could assure Mr. Kerry within my leadership’s capacity; the king does not represent us, the Palestinians, and we would never recognize or honor any deals signed by him.

In addition, why would Jordan’s king be given $55 billion for settling Palestinians who are already Jordanians? Jordan has 5.9 million Palestinians and all of those have been Jordanian citizens since 1948, when the Hashemites occupied the West Bank and forced the Palestinians to accept the Jordanian citizenship. In addition, Jordan itself is a part of the British Mandate for Palestine, and the Hashemites agreed in 1919 to turn Jordan into the homeland for Palestine’s Arabs. Therefore, the presence of all Palestinians in Jordan is a legitimate right, not a Hashemite giveaway.

Also, why should Kerry assume that Palestinian refugees, in Lebanon for example, would agree to being settled in Jordan under a king who already discriminates against his own Palestinians on education, healthcare and public employment in an apartheid regime similar to that of South Africa in the old days?

Moreover, Jordan’s king might fall to the Arab Spring just like any other dictator – who would had thought the much stronger and wittier Mubarak would fall? If/when that happens, the king would take the $55 billion with him and Israel will end up with a new regime that would not necessarily honor any agreements signed by a toppled king.

Kerry’s plan does not seem to appeal to Israel in any way. The plan proposes that Israel gives up the West Bank to the PA: Israel’s experience of giving land has constantly had a fixed outcome: more trouble and more dead Israelis.

From the Israeli perspective, even if the PA recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, how could Israel be Jewish and give up Judea and Samaria at the same time? Also, the proposed plan would turn Israel into a narrower and even smaller state that is harder to defend.

Kerry’s plan proposes installing international troops to guard the borders at the Jordan valley, which would most likely translate as occupation to the Israeli public opinion.

In addition, even if Abbas recognizes Israel as a Jewish state; he could soon dismiss it and retract it the very day Israel hands him the West Bank.

In short, Kerry’s peace plan is unrealistic and could bring more disasters to both Israel and the Palestinians.  If executed, Israel will be facing more geographic, demographic and military threats.

Nonetheless, Obama and Kerry seem to be determined about fulfilling their plan. Kerry has been visiting Jerusalem, Ramallah and Amman regularly, and nobody can guess how long Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu could hold under the pressure for.

Meanwhile, the King’s peace plan, which he has sold to Obama, has given him serious momentum with the US administration and his media has been promoting the peace plan as “evidence the King has survived the Arab Spring”. Still, this very trick pulled by the king is what might make him disappear; the Palestinians in Jordan are already furious as they perceive the king as selling their “right of return” and pocketing the money himself. In a recent article, Yale’s visiting professor and Washington Institute fellow, Hassan Barari, reported that “a Western-financed study showed only 8% of Palestinians in Jordan would execute the right of return if allowed to do so”. Under Kerry-Abdullah’s plan, the Palestinians will neither return to Israel nor be compensated.

Further, Kerry’s plan revolves around Jordan’s king settling Palestinian refugees; what would happen if/when the Arab Spring hits Jordan and the king begins to shake? My sources inside the Jordanian establishment confirm that “the king is only in power today because Israel has been supporting him all through the [Arab Spring] crisis”.  He should hope Israel does not change its mind.

 

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View the original Jerusalem Post publication at: http://www.jpost.com/Experts/Peace-talks-and-the-king-in-the-middle-339877?prmusr=BINEN2PzL04Z2Cvbny6d8O3pgfp%2BWP19veCs9hPKEnxz6zTWN9lscv6LAMyf2vrm

About the Author:

 

Mudar Zahran

Mudar Zahran

 

 

Mudar Zahran is a writer and the secretary general of the Jordanian Coalition of Opposition

Jordanian of Palestinian heritage,Zahran  holds 2 masters degrees from Southern New Hampshire University and is finalizing his PhD in Middle Eastern banking at the University of Bedfordshire, UK.

 

Zahran served at the US Embassy-Amman as an economic specialist and assistant to the policy coordinator until April 2010, when he was forced to flee Jordan, moving to the UK, as a political refugee.

 

Follow Mudar on Twitter @Mudar_Zahran

 

Read More By Mudar Zahran at: https://www.israelandstuff.com/?s=Mudar+Zahran

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