F. Andrew Wolf Jr.
Director - The Fulcrum Institute

It’s the only option left and it’s the right one

“Most of the things worth doing in the world had been declared impossible before they were done.” –Louis D. Brandeis 

Occam’s razor, a theory that has helped many great thinkers for centuries, states that the simplest solution is almost always the best. In light of three decades of failure of either a one or two-state solution to the Palestinian problem, perhaps now is the time for both sides to accept the wisdom of a 14th-century logician and theologian.

William of Ockham would have approved of Jordanian King Abdullah II’s great-grandfather and his solution to the Palestinian problem. It was brilliant, simple and logical: annex the WestBank and grant citizenship to every Palestinian. The entire international community, save Britain and Pakistan, was aghast at the monarch’s brazenness and, I would argue, his genius.

If we look back a little further than 1950, it seems that since the time of the Palestinian Mandate, there has always existed a home for the Palestinians. Great powers decided otherwise – but that was 100 years ago. Things change, especially politics, especially Middle East politics. 

Supporting the status of Jordan as a constitutional monarchy, while acknowledging it as a Palestinian state, upholds both the national identity of the majority of its population and the preservation of the Hashemite Kingdom of Abdullah II. And both are needed for peace and stability in the region. Here’s why there is no other option.

One thing for certain, the status quo is no longer viable. Realistically, the underlying issue of concern has always been that of equal rights for the Palestinians (which only comes from self-determination). History, external actors, violence, resentment and foreign power influence over extensive periods effectively preclude this. And this is especially true as long as the Palestinian people remain within the State of Israel and Judea and Samaria (i.e. West Bank). After innumerable failed attempts to reduce violence and move toward peace and stability with the Palestinians in the Jewish state, a one-state solution is not viable.

A second much touted option has also outlived its “usefulness” (if it ever was), and in fact today is problematic. After more than thirty years of promises, obvious for at least a decade, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict cannot be resolved through the “two-state solution.” Although Israel accepted the concept of Palestinian autonomy in the Oslo Accords (1993-1995), the Jewish state has received no tangible benefit in return. It cannot be expected to jeopardize further its vital security interests (to exist) by empowering its enemies while sharing a common border with them.

Yet, a third option has been available since 1921 when the British created Transjordan and ushered in the Hashemite Kingdom. Today, from this reality the Palestinian State of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan can be realized (not created), where it should have been all along.

How the Palestinians would benefit 

A Palestinian state in Jordan is the only viable solution remaining (if the goal is self-determination for the Palestinian people). Neither the Jewish State nor the creation of a new state for the Palestinians can achieve the latter. 

Returning the Palestinian people to their homeland is not only possible, it is realistic, sensible. It would provide them the benefit of having rights they determine for themselves, rather than living under the oppression of terrorist regimes or the laws of the Jewish state. But more importantly (and this has always been the issue for the Palestinians – especially for those who want the total destruction of the Jewish State), they will have the right of self-determination. 

This approach would not necessitate all Arab Palestinians leaving the West Bank for Jordan, but it would give them an option. Those who wish to remain under Israeli sovereignty and abide by its laws as a Jewish state should be permitted to do so. Those who choose otherwise or represent a security risk would need to move to Jordan or another country. 

Abdullah II’s Hands are Tied by Demographics — by the Palestinians

We must, of course, understand the politics governing much of the region from inside and outside the Middle East. King Abdullah II’s continuous overt support of a two-state solution is, of course, just the opposite of what Jordan actually wants. King Abdullah II maintains responsibility for Palestinian causes and welfare due to local and regional Arab politics, but another unstable state next to Jordan is not what the king wants.

Prof. Dan Schueftan in his work, A Jordanian Option – Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians, asserts that in order to survive, Abdullah II must give lip service to a “two-state solution.” The largest segment of Jordan’s populace (70%) is Palestinian. He has no other choice, publicly.

Moreover, the king faces continuous pressure from radical groups as well as from Iran and its proxies in the region. Those forces continually press Jordan to abandon its relationship with Israel.

But there are benefits to Jordan as well 

Acknowledging Jordan as a Palestinian state, while maintaining its status as a constitutional monarchy, reflects the national identity of the two-thirds majority of its population. With the international community recognizing the monarchy as a legitimate constitutional authority, the rule of King Abdullah II is secured as Head of State which helps provide continued stability in the region – notwithstanding the continued support from the state of Israel and the Arab League all of which want and need Jordan to remain stable and secure.

One factor often overlooked is Queen Rania. Popular and by virtue of her Kuwaiti parents, Palestinian, she is seen as understanding of their circumstance. This relationship based on kinship and perhaps trust could help bridge some concerns Palestinians may have over the continued existence of the monarchy. Perhaps the Queen will help them see they are far more secure and with more freedom and opportunity in an internationally supported kingdom rather than on their own with virtually no experience in creating, developing and securing a nation state in what has proven to be a difficult region in which to exist much less prosper and be self determining.

Palestinians in Jordan constitute a burgeoning portion of its political life. With a relatively stable economic and political base Jordan lacks only an adequate source of water and a greater population base to develop its immense land mass. The greater population influx from the West Bank and the region at large can provide needed human capital for economic growth. The Palestinian State in particular and The Hashemite Kingdom in general have the potential (and no doubt much financial assistance will be forthcoming) for significant economic development. 

From the standpoint of the region as a whole, it is in the interest of Israel, America, Europe and pro-Western Arab states that Jordan continue to be stable and secure. Abdullah, with the “behind the scenes” support of Israel and very open and enthusiastic support from the US and the Arab League, has provided stability in the face of regional upheaval, civil war and terrorism in the region. With the support it will receive, there is every reason to believe this will continue under the Palestinian State of the Hashemite Kingdom. But beyond the distinct advantages which inure to the benefit of the Palestinians, Israel and Jordan as well as the region at large – frankly there is no other viable option available. Let us hope the grandson is as smart as the great-grandfather.

About the Author
I am Director of The Fulcrum Institute, an organization of current and former scholars in the Humanities, Arts and Sciences. The institute is dedicated to the classical liberal tradition whereby human freedom is a function of natural law and is justified through an appeal to that which is the sufficient reason why there is something rather than nothing-- why the universe is rather than is not – which many call God. (The website-URL will be live by late summer of 2024. The web address will be My life has been an investment in service to the United States, its people and my family. After serving with USAF (Lt.Col.-Intel), I completed graduate work in philosophy (PhD), 2 masters degrees in philosophy and philosophical theology and the Sacrae Theologiae Diploma in US, Wales, England, S. African and taught the same in the US. My primary interest is in working towards an economic and political world in which more voices are heard and America plays a more positive role in that effort. Having traveled extensively in Europe, England, Wales and especially Southeast Asia, I publish through both US (American Spectator, The Thinking Conservative, The Daily Philosophy, Academic Questions: National Association of Scholars) and international media (International Policy Digest, Eurasia Review, Cairo Review of Global Affairs). Forthcoming is the text, Our Sense of Relatedness as well as texts on Philosophy and Philosophical Theology. I have a passion for sailing and hold a US patent on a sailboat tiller design for various marine craft. My wife, from whom I confess I have learned so much, is both French and gracious with a great son at university.
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