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June 17, 2008

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Blue Sun

Actually, there is considerable historical support for the idea that Jordan is a part of the land long referred to as Palestine.

Jordan was part of the origional British Palestine Mandate after World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire. At that time, the Hashemites, led by King Abdullah were in Arabia, where they were rivals of the Saud family for control. When they lost and the House of Saud created modern Saudi Arabia, they fled west, where the British, who had been their allies during World War I, gave them the portion of Palestine that lay to the east of the Jordan River (hence their original name, Trans-Jordan). The land was overwhelmingly occupied by Palestinian Arabs, but the British installed the Hashemites and King Abdullah as the ruling monarchy, a monarchy that still exists today under the formal name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Ironically, in the late 1960s, Palestinian Arabs, including native Jordanians and refugees from the West Bank, began a campaign to displace the Hashemites and turn Jordan into a Palestinian State. Outright fighting broke out in June of 1970, culminating with the expulsion of the Palestinian fedayeeen by King Hussein in September (referred by Palestinians as Black September).

Realistically, there is no more chance that Jordan would voluntarily become a new Palestinian state than there is of Israel doing the same. If there is any answer to the Isreal/Palestinian Arab conflict, it will lie in the creation of a totally independent Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank (borders to be negotiated for mutual security).

This, however, is contingent on many of the Palestinians giving up their ultimate goal of using an independent Palestinian state as merely a stepping-stone and staging area for a final assault on pre-1967 Israel and its final destruction. The reaction of Hamas, with its daily rocket attacks, to the Israelis' departure from Gaza bodes ill for any solution that MUST be based on mutual assurances of peace and mutual trust that the assurances will be binding.

Chris

Greetings Marc, I'm a student at the U of Arkansas and came across your work (and site) from reading *Voices* in a class with Ted Swedenburg.

Anyhow, I'm studying this summer in Amman and first read the story a couple of days ago in Al-Arab Al-Yawm, and have been reading the follow-ups in the Times (and agree that it's Ammon News' shoddy work). From chatting with people as the events unfolded, the best I can tell is that the damage has already been done to McCain. For the handful of folks I've spoken with, even learning that the report was dubious -- which initially struck them as hard to believe, given the King's felt need to respond -- doesn't change the bad taste in their mouth and the belief that nothing good could come of his presidency. But until this episode, no one really wanted to talk McCain: all the gossip was praise of (the) Clinton(s) or Obama at AIPAC.

bb

It's the first symptom of McCain Derangement Syndrome (which mestastised from Hillary Derangement Syndrome which in turn mestastised from BDS).

Martin Kramer

Just to be clear, there is a difference between "Jordan is Palestine" (the "alternative homeland") and the "Jordanian option," which is predicated on Jordan and the Palestinians coming together within the framework of the peace process--indeed, as Tom Friedman (who is not part of the Israeli right) has it in the referenced article, as a way to save the peace process. Marc, you have conflated these two things in your post. The reason the "Jordanian option" is being discussed again is the total breakdown of Palestinian unity, and the de facto separation (which will only be reinforced by the Hamas-Israel cease-fire) of the West Bank and Gaza. Not every variation on the "Jordanian option" theme excites the same amount of controversy in Jordan, and it would be useful to make some distinctions.

aardvark

Martin - you're right - the alleged Kagan remarks were "alternative homeland" (the Palestinians have a state in Jordan), which aroused the predictable outrage; some of the reader-provided links referred to a Jordanian role in the West Bank, which is indeed a different debate. Sorry if those two got conflated in the update - it's an important distinction worth making.

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