The question no one dares ask

Why doesn’t the Palestinian majority in Jordan
overthrow the Hashemite monarchy?

Is there anyone who actually believes the Hashemite kingdom is legitimate? Anyone who believes it is an ancient and venerable institution? Anyone who believes it rules over its own indigenous people by popular consent? Anyone? Anyone?

This impoverished monarchy with its little king who barely speaks Arabic and struts around in bespoke British fatigues and formal uniforms festooned with medals for … well for what exactly? For breathing? For having been born?

His Royal Highness King Abdullah II may fancy himself genuine royalty on a par with the House of Windsor. But who is he kidding? Jordan is not a legitimate country. It occupies three fifths of the ancient Land of Israel, more recently called Palestine, a land that was entrusted by the League of Nations to Great Britain as a mandate to become the Jewish homeland that it should always have been.

England under Winston Churchill lopped off the bulk of its mandate in 1921 and installed a tribal Bedouin chieftain named Abdullah I as its king. It then trained his fellow tribesmen to become a formidable fighting force and allowed this artificial concoction to become a full-blown monarchy by granting it ‘independence’ in 1946. Now, finally, it was fully armed, locked and loaded, and ready pose an existential threat to a post-Holocaust Jewish state that had yet to be born in the remaining two-fifths of the mandate, if that much.

Were the people who then lived in this “Jordan” consulted? Did they vote this monarch in through a democratic election? Was any survey done to determine whether the local population considered this new throne legitimate? All valid and rhetorical questions.

Nevertheless this kingdom was able to survive if not exactly flourish thanks to its British-trained and British-run army of Bedouin loyalists. What’s more, owing to its thin veneer of English pomp and circumstance, and the public school and Sandhurst education of the ‘royal’ sons, it managed to project and sustain an image of cosmopolitan liberalism. This could fool a gullible west that has always been a sucker for royalty however questionable, primitive or concocted its pedigree. Those uniforms and medals look awfully smart especially with a British accent. Who cares if His Royal Highness’s grandpa squatted in the desert sand stirring Turkish coffee on flames fueled by camel dung?

In fact, however, the Kingdom of Jordan is as far from a democracy as Saddam’s Iraq or Assad’s Syria. It is run with an iron first by means of a terrifying secret police, full use of imprisonment and torture, and all the tools available to a totalitarian monarchy with limitless power over its citizens.

At the same, time a veneer of liberalism is maintained through a system of ‘democratic’ elections of which the candidates are all vetted by the palace, and the results of which are subject to the monarch’s whim. The ministers of the Jordanian government rotate through the moto perpetuo of the Hashemite revolving door, thereby enabling the king to channel all popular anger and blame onto his ministers while maintaining his image of benevolence, if not divine right.

That the Bedouin tribesmen who were always part of the Hashemite cohort do not rebel against their ‘rais’ is understandable. Tribalism and tribal loyalty are the glue that binds desert folk whose entire historical memory is comprised of fealty to their chieftain and his offspring.

But the Hashemite Bedouin are a minority in their own country, while Palestinian Arabs comprise half or more of the actual population, not all of whom enjoy the right to vote.

So the big question is this; Why would Palestinians who almost universally reject the right of Jews to have a country of their own on ‘Palestinian’ land, allow an interloper like the Hashemites to control three-fifths of their supposed homeland? And considering the readiness of so many Palestinians to martyr themselves, and celebrate martyrdom, in the effort to eliminate the Jews, why are they so hesitant to unleash the same terror and mayhem in Jordan?

The answer is because the Palestinians are playing a very smart game. Their strategy is brilliant; the key to their strategy is a patience we Israelis sorely lack.

Let us for a moment imagine a successful Palestinian overthrow of the Hashemites, something that is certainly within their demographic and material capability. The result would, of course, be an independent Palestinian state thereby obviating – certainly in the eyes of the world – any need for a Palestinian state west of the Jordan River. In other words, killing the Jews by driving them into the sea, might no longer be an option.

But there is an even better reason for the Palestinians to hold their powder. After all, they know that the only way to formalize a two-state solution west of the river would be by agreeing to become a demilitarized state and forego strategic control over the Jordan valley. A foolish Israel, eager for ‘peace’, would allow such a theoretically neutered Palestinian state to come into existence thereby expecting to assure its own future security.

Yet, the signing of such a two-state solution would turn out to have been the most brilliant ruse in geo-political history, and Israel would be finished.

Yes, the new Palestinian state would agree to be defanged militarily. But the old Palestinian state, i.e. Jordan, would be under no such obligation.

Only now would the Palestinians in Jordan finally revolt and take over the kingdom, converting it into a Palestinian state – one already fully armed with fighter jets, tanks and the entire panoply of military hardware and personnel already in situ.

And it would be this Palestinian state formerly known as the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan that would then subsume the demilitarized Palestinian entity across the Jordan River. They could – and would – do so with no obligation, legal or otherwise, to maintain any commitment to demilitarization. Suddenly Israel would have a fully armed, offensive enemy on its borders, one totally committed to its eradication; an enemy skilled in both conventional warfare and non-conventional terrorism.

By biding its time, and allowing the Kingdom of Jordan to survive for the time being, the Palestinians will be able to accept a two-state solution knowing full well that it is but a temporary commitment that would soon be rendered both meaningless and unenforceable.

This is all so elementary that one must wonder why it is not being discussed. Yes, it helps explain why Israel continues to prop up the little king next door despite his hardly effusive friendship, and why we maintain diplomatic relations with a country whose population is forever baying for our blood. But this can only continue to work so long as the two-state solution never materializes. But there are no guarantees, after all, one of these years Israel may get a leftwing government.

Indeed it is in Israel’s best interests to encourage, if not foment, Palestinian rebellion in Jordan right now, thereby enabling us to secure our control of the two fifths of our historic homeland west of the Jordan River, and the strategic advantage this offers. And should this former Hashemite, now Palestinian, state become belligerent it will be unlikely that the international community will give it much support, while Israel would be far better positioned to blunt any hostile behavior.

About the Author
J.J Gross is a veteran creative director and copywriter, who made aliyah in 2007 from New York. He is a graduate of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a lifelong student of Bible and Talmud. He is also the son of Holocaust survivors from Hungary and Slovakia.
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