I have rarely seen a more useless speech than the one given, earlier today, to the UN General Assembly by Jordan’s King Abdullah. Let me explain why :
He asked for a sovereign and viable Palestinian State based on the June 4, 1967 borders. However, these were not borders bur armistice lines where fighting stopped in 1949. For the whole period from 1949 to June 4, 1967, the King’s father, King Hussein controlled (occupied) the West Bank and not only did he do nothing to create that Palestinian State, when he could, but he also did not recognize the 1949 armistice lines themselves.
King Abdullah called for a sovereign and viable Palestinian State, but did not include democracy, because of course his own country is not a democracy. As for viable, what is his definition of viability? He knows very well that the day such State would be declared, a civil war would start between Fatah and Hamas, and economic viability is difficult to imagine.
I understand that the King is under tremendous domestic pressures, with more than 60% of the Jordanian population being Arab Palestinians, while he and the country’s minority Bedouins control the country. He also must deal with the large influx of Syrian refugees.
Under the radar there is close security coordination between Jordan and Israel, and in fact his regime’s survival depends on a strong Israel as well as on the support from the US and from Saudi Arabia. It is true that the Arab Palestinian issue must be resolved, because the people in the West Bank can not live under Israel’s control forever, as this is good for neither Israel and the Arab Palestinians.
The King may deserve sympathy for his predicament and his theoretical Western disposition, but it is time that he stops hiding his head in the sand and comes to terms with the reality on the ground. Israel will never return to the 1949 armistice lines and the future of the West Bank Arabs may well be inside a Jordanian federation.
In fact, King Abdullah could have helped the future of the West Bank and Gaza Arabs by enthusiastically supporting the peace agreements with the UAE and Bahrain. The Ramallah leaders need a push to come to reality as well, as the King could have been that push. Instead he stayed with his dogmas, stuck in the past.