“Everybody knows that Jordan is a Palestinian State,” said MK Yehudah Glick at the Jordanian Option Conference in Jerusalem on Tuesday. Nearly every other speaker at the conference agreed that the Jordan ‘option’ is a satisfactory solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
According to conference organizers, the ‘Jordan is Palestine’ solution “calls for Jordan to be the Arab state and Israel to the Jordan River, to be the state of the Jews.” To these ends, Israel would incentivize and encourage local Arabs to emigrate to Jordan.
Israel would support the development of a new Jordanian city to accommodate a million new residents, stimulating the Jordanian economy and creating jobs. An interim Jordanian government would offer citizenship and “right of return” to all Palestinians, putting an end to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Palestinian refugee problem.
“The concept of a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria doesn’t exist anymore, and anyone who is genuine knows that. It is wrong, dangerous, and not possible,” said MK Glick, speaking at the conference hosted at the Menachem Begin Center. “Jordan as a Palestinian state is a serious potential because the majority of Jordanians are Palestinian,” he explained. “Before 1967, the Palestinians were Jordanian.”
Glick also maintained that the Jordan option is preferable for many Palestinians who do not want to be under the PA, which they view as corrupt. Forcing Palestinians who simply want to live and support their families to live under the Palestinian Authority in a ‘peace’ solution mandating they remain under PA control would essentially be a punishment, he explained.
He posited that Jordan as the future Palestinian State would be a more ethical option considering the PA’s corruption and abuse of human rights. “How do we have a right to pass over Palestinians to be under an authority that destroys churches, does not respect women, and does not honor civil rights?” he asked.
However, Glick also raised concerns with the solution, questioning the conference organizer’s claim that there are no alternatives and calling for “open mindedness” on the subject. He also pointed out one major drawback to the Jordanian Option, namely, that it would still give back territory within the land of Israel mandated and prophesied by the Bible.
“Who gave us the right to give up part of the Jewish State?” Glick asked, suggesting, “We can refer to Jordan as a serious Palestinian state option temporarily for the next few decades, until the time when it becomes Israel.”
In light of criticism of the conference by the King of Jordan, Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, Dr. Mordechai Nisan, lecturer and author of the book Only Israel West of the River: The Jewish State and the Palestinian Question, praised the conference as a “self-affirmation that we have the right to speak and think what we believe to be correct,” in contrast to Jordanian law which criminalizes speech against the King.
He argued for the ‘Jordan is Palestine’ solution on political grounds, saying, “All those people who propose traditional geographic terrain [exchanges] as a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are either stupid or evil – their goal isn’t peace but to launch a mechanism to undo the Israeli state.”
Dr. Nisan questioned the Israeli government’s commitment to the idea that Jordan is a strategic asset, grounded by the belief that Israel’s eastern border is secure. He gave examples of the multiple times Jordan has gone to war with Israel and supported terrorism. He added that Jordan is not a strategic interest but a problem for Israel that is contrary to its interests “so long as the Hashemite kingdom rules in Jordan and it throws the Palestinian problem into Israel.”
The Jordan option, he said, would create strategic balance along Jordan River, his proposed border, where “Israel can conduct itself with great proficiency in assuring that border is quiet.”
Dr. Nisan added that Palestinian national consciousness is vibrant, but expressed violently and stymied in Judea and Samaria and therefore must be transferred to Jordan, where Palestinian consciousness is virtually the same as Jordanian identity. He pointed out that King Hussein and others have made similar declarations “when it serves Hashemite interests to include Palestinians in the Jordanian framework.”
The Jordan option, he concluded, could offer Palestinians self-determination if the “politically and ethically illegitimate Hashemite regime” is dissolved.
Dr. Martin Sherman, founder and executive director of the Israeli Institute for Strategic Studies, maintained that the Jordanian option is consistent with Israel’s fundamental imperatives for survival and could be an acceptable solution compatible with Israel’s long-term existence. Because the downfalls of the one- and two-state solutions do not address Israel’s demographic and geographical imperatives, they are not just “right-wing fear mongering but the empirical present.”
However, he added, he is not optimistic that the Jordan option is currently a feasible option.
Salim Mansur, PhD, professor of political science at Western University, said that the Jordanian-Palestinian connection was a self-evident “elephant in the room”. He argued, “An Arab State in the historic Palestine already exists. Jordan is Palestine, Israel is ancient Judea and Samaria reborn, and Jerusalem is the capital of the only Jewish State. Peace and justice is only a breath away if we embrace and recognize those as who they are. ”
He concluded by urging US President Donald Trump to “bring the curtains down on the fake history that has caused so much grief in this part of the world.”