A controversial US plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace could spell the demise of Jordan and turn it into a “Palestinian state”, Jordanians and analysts warn.
The initiative launched by US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner at a June conference in Bahrain dangles the prospect of $50 billion of investment into a stagnant Palestinian economy.
But it fails to address key issues such as an independent Palestinian state, Israeli occupation and the Palestinians’ right to return to homes from which they fled or were expelled after Israel’s creation in 1948.
The Palestinian Authority boycotted the Bahrain forum, accusing the unabashedly pro-Israel Trump of using the prospect of cash to try to impose political solutions, and of ignoring the fundamental issue of occupation.
Trump has taken the landmark step of recognising disputed Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and Kushner has suggested the peace plan would not mention a Palestinian state.
Kushner is returning to the Middle East later this month to push his economic plan which has been rejected by the Palestinians and criticised by Jordan.
“No economic proposal could replace a political solution that ends the occupation” of Palestinian territories by Israel, Jordan’s foreign ministry spokesman Sufyan al-Qudah said.
Jordan, one of only two Arab countries to have a peace treaty with Israel, sent only a low-level official to the June 25-26 conference in Manama.
In Amman, protests have been staged against what has been dubbed the “deal of the century”.
“It would mean the end of the Palestinian cause and it would wipe out Jordanian identity, both in one go,” said Khaled al-Khrisha, a 65-year-old Jordanian, at a rally last month outside the US embassy.
“Jordan will be the biggest loser after the Palestinians.”
Another demonstrator, 81-year-old Widad al-Aruri whose family originates from the West Bank, said the deal “means selling off the Palestinians and is dangerous for Jordan”.
The kingdom hosts millions of Palestinians who poured into the country in two waves, after Israel’s creation and following the 1967 Six-Day War, when Israel occupied the West Bank, east Jerusalem and Gaza.