Israelis and Palestinians deserve better

It has been reported that at Camp David in 2000, Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians a state in 95% of the West Bank and 100% of the Gaza Strip. Isolated Israeli settlements would be removed and the land transferred to Palestinian control. Palestinians would control East Jerusalem, most of the Old City, and have religious sovereignty over the Temple Mount. In return, Arafat simply was asked to declare an end of the conflict and any further claims against the Jewish State.

Instead of accepting the long awaited Palestinian state west of the Jordan River, Arafat instead chose to walk out and make no counter offer, supposedly because of hardliners within the PLO. Shouldn’t the PLO chairman have been more concerned with the needs and aspirations of his people? Too often Israelis get blamed for failures during so-called peace negotiation, but this time even President Clinton blamed the Palestinian leader.

Instead of accepting the most far-reaching concessions ever offered by an Israeli prime minister up until that time, the terrorist leader launched the Second Intifada. According to the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism, some 887 Israeli civilians were murdered by Palestinian terrorists between 2000 and 2005. Furthermore, Palestinian terrorists have murdered approximately 4,000 Israeli civilians in total. After all the Israeli attempts to make peace with the PLO leadership, don’t the people of Israel deserve serious peace partners?

The so-called peace process continued, but it really was just an opportunity for the PA to achieve more and more concessions from our government without Israel getting anything of real substance in return. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert met with Mahmoud Abbas 36 times in order to facilitate the creation of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River and also offered far-reaching concessions, but Mahmoud Abbas never even responded to Olmert’s generous last offer on September 16, 2008. It’s time for the PLO to go.

Like everywhere else the gang of thugs was permitted to live, the PLO’s stay has been a nightmare ever since its arrival from Tunisia. The PA is not a currently elected government. In fact, Abbas is in the eleventh year of what was supposed to be a four-year term. The PLO mainly has represented only its own interests and not the interests of Palestinians. Don’t the Palestinians deserve better representation and a better chance at a peaceful and prosperous future?

In 2005 the BBC reported that King Abdullah II had expressed his intentions of making Jordan a democratic country. In June 2011 he announced his intentions of moving to a British style cabinet government, but progress has been slow. It is inevitable that Jordan will one day have a Palestinian democracy.

King Abdullah should initiate something like a gradual 10-year or 20-year plan of transition so his people can see a democratic light at the end of the tunnel. Jordanian Palestinians must in the meantime prove that they can live without the PLO and other terrorist organizations and learn to govern themselves while living in peace with their neighbors. King Abdullah could make history and even run for the office of prime minister.

More Palestinians live in Jordan than in any other place, except the West Bank and Gaza. In fact, about twice as many Palestinians live in Jordan than in Israel proper. Estimates of Palestinians living in Jordan often have ranged from 60 to 70 percent of the population. The Hashemite monarchy is desperate to retain power. So the exact number of Palestinians living in the country is often underestimated. Also, like other Arab leaders, King Abdullah is concerned that if Jordan is ever accepted by the international community as a Palestinian state, the pressure will be taken off Israel to create a Palestinian state on the west side of the Jordan River. Further partition of Israel has always been the Arab goal to weaken the Jewish State.

The Jordanian government held a national census in 2004 but would not divulge the exact ratio of Palestinians to non-Palestinians in the country. It seems probable that the monarchy would have revealed the exact figures of the census if it didn’t have information that it wanted to hide, that is, Palestinians continue to make up a majority. Although there have been denials, there is no doubt that Palestinians would have the biggest influence in the government and in essence have a Palestinian state if Jordan were ever to become a full democracy. It has been announced that the 2015 census will include approximately 1.4 million Syrians in Jordan, of which about 620,000 are registered as refugees.

Areas A and B in Israel should be made permanent semi-autonomous regions for non-Israeli Arabs living on the west side of the Jordan River. But we must never again agree to have our sacred land further partitioned. It is usually easier to hold on to something than get it back once it is given away. If Palestinians need a state of their own, they should address their grievances to one King Abdullah II of Jordan.

Terror organizations like the PLO should not be allowed back into Jordan. Only peace-loving Jordanians, whether of Palestinian origin or not, should be allowed to take part in the Jordanian democratic process. The PLO should be outlawed like all other terrorist organizations and prosecuted for crimes against humanity.

Western analysts sometimes oppose democracy in places like Jordan because of the instability and potential threat that a fully democratic State of Palestine in Jordan could represent to Israel if terrorists took over the government. Yet these same pundits in usual self-contradictory fashion too often favor Israel having to deal with the chaos and anarchy of a hostile Palestinian state even closer on the west side of the Jordan River. Go figure.

Once Jordan becomes a democracy in the form of a State of Palestine in Jordan, Israel will have the ability to deal with it. Can dealing with a Palestinian state on the east side of the Jordan River be any more difficult than the wars and intifadas we’ve already fought and survived?

Arab Israelis eventually will learn to live as a protected minority and loyal citizens of the Jewish State. Palestinians now living in Areas A and B can be allowed to continue to do so as a permanent arrangement.  Israel can help a State of Palestine in Jordan be a prosperous and peaceful neighbor.

Jordan’s slow march to a democratic future will be fraught with ups, downs, setbacks, and restarts for possibly a long time to come. As a step in the right direction, the PLO should be disbanded and expelled from Areas A and B and also never again be permitted back into Jordan. It is time for the PLO reign of terror to stop. Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve a better future.

Yoeli’s Mandate: Leave your mark, make a difference for the good, and do your part to make sure that they never again devour Jacob or make his habitation waste.

Email Eli Kaufman at



About the Author
Yoeli Kaufman earned his bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and then worked as an analyst and Arabic translator for U.S. Army Intelligence. His master’s degree was in Educational Administration from Temple University in Philadelphia. Eli now regularly writes for the Jerusalem Post, the Times of Israel, and Diario Judío México.
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