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DavidV

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Jordan is one of only two Arab nations to have a peace treaty with Israel and thus recognise its existence. King Abdullah II is also custodian of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. However, relations between Jordan and Israel have become strained in recent months. Disputes over Israel's conduct in Jerusalem, especially with regards to holy places such as Al-Aqsa mosque, have increased tensions between the two countries.

At the same time, it appears that Jordan is re-engaging the Palestinians more closely than since it officially abandoned its claim on the West Bank in 1988, having lost it to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War. Daoud Kuttab talks about the prospect of re-engagement with the Arab population of Jerusalem:
http://english.alarabiya.net/en/views/news/middle-east/2013/05/16/Jordan-and-Jerusalem-a-renewed-relationship-.html

Right now, Jordan is feeling the strain of the influx of Syrian refugees and anxious to maintain security by avoiding being dragged into the conflict regardless of its sympathies, as is the case with Lebanon. However, stronger backing from other Arab states could give Jordan renewed leverage. The "Jordan Option", a confederation of some sort, has been repeatedly ruled out in public over the years yet the possibility is that it is being quietly reactivated.

Why is it so, when a "State of Palestine" was internationally recognised last year despite having no clearly legitimate government, and no clearly defined borders. Palestinians, both ordinary people and its social elites, must surely now be casting for alternatives to the corruption and ineptitude of Fatah and the violence and oppression of Hamas. The problem dates back to the very beginning of the Palestinian question and the fact that Palestinians have simply been pawns in the game. The problem is that the countries that emerged from the wreckage of the Ottoman Empire - Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Jordan - can be considered arbitrary and artificial entities overlaying tribal and feudal Arab societies, or "tribes with flags". And all sorts of schemes for pan-Arab unity, "Greater Syria" and, yes, a Palestinian state have thus far failed.

While the PLO was and is official representative of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian cause has among other things been merely used by those with designs on purported Palestinian territory. Syria under Assad is not least of these, despite the deathly silence on its border with Israel from 1973 until recently. Similarly, Jordan's historic claims on the West Bank represented an expression of its own pan-Arab and Greater Syria design envisaged by Abdullah I. Hussein's 1972 plan for an Austria-Hungary style Dual Monarchy was rejected by all parties. Yet the plan has seemingly been put on the shelf, rather than binned.

The problem for Jordan is the unease Jordanians, or rather the Transjordanian or Bedouin population, may feel about this engagement not least with memories of 1970. And the same people expelled from Jordan that year caused 15 years of Civil war in Lebanon and Syrian occupation. But surely the same radical groups that were responsible do not or at least no longer represent a major part of Palestinian opinion. I'm sure that many Palestinians, like many Israelis, are simply tired of conflict. I'm sure they would prefer to live as part of a dual monarchy, albeit with their own Parliament and administration, than the current state between limbo and hell.

It has been 65 years since the foundation of Israel, and the beginning of what I now think is one of the most poisonous and divisive conflicts in human history. Not in terms of numbers killed - and the numbers of Arabs killed by Arab regimes vastly outnumbers the numbers killed by Israel, a point ignored by the anti-Zionist crowd - but in its effect on the entire world whether we know it or not. I hate everything about the conflict, I'm sick of it and wish a way could be found to establish a lasting and just peace.

If the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is the ultimate key to ensuring that, then we must support them fully.
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