Is There a Jordanian Solution to the Fate of the West Bank?

Sept. 21 2018

In recent weeks, reports have circulated that the Trump administration’s inchoate proposal for ending the Israel-Palestinian conflict involves creating some sort of confederation between the Palestinian West Bank and Jordan. Israeli and Jordanian officials began secretly discussing such an arrangement almost immediately after the Six-Day War in 1967, and the idea, despite having died many deaths, continues to resurface periodically in various forms. Considering whether it remains realistic today, Oded Eran notes that since 1970—when it was nearly overthrown by a Palestinian revolt—the Jordanian monarchy has opposed any move that would increase the Palestinian population of its kingdom, which is already more than half of the total:

[Fear of] an increase in the Palestinian segment of Jordan’s population and, as a result, potential demands to provide this majority with political-constitutional expression, is of major concern to Jordan’s Hashemite monarchs. The kingdom’s general conduct regarding a host of challenges, particularly those pertaining to the Palestinian issue, is understandable only in the context of this reality. The laconic response of Jordan’s minister of public diplomacy [when asked about Washington’s reported proposal] left no room for doubt: that the matter is closed and not up for discussion, and that the Palestinians have a right to their own country.

The position expressed [about this issue by the Palestinian Authority president] Mahmoud Abbas was more complex. . . . He did not reject the idea out of hand, and said he might be interested provided Israel were part of the confederation. His spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, clarified that the idea has been on the agenda of the Palestinian leadership since 1984 and would be a framework that complements the two-state solution. . . . Israel’s official public response to the idea of a two- or three-pronged confederation has still not been articulated. . . .

[T]he tripartite model [of a confederation among Israel, Jordan, and a Palestinian state or quasi-state] creates a possibility for creative solutions to issues related to trade, energy, and water, [where] trilateral solutions . . . are preferable.

Although Jordan’s possible resumption of a practical governing role in the West Bank seems at best illusory, the possibility of future Jordanian involvement in solving certain elements of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict cannot be ruled out.

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More about: Israel & Zionism, Jordan, Mahmoud Abbas, Palestinian statehood

Nikki Haley Succeeded at the UN Because She Saw It for What It Is

Oct. 15 2018

Last week, Nikki Haley announced that she will be stepping down as the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations at the end of the year. When President Trump appointed her to the position, she had behind her a successful tenure as governor of South Carolina, but no prior experience in foreign policy. This, writes Seth Lispky, turned out to have been her greatest asset:

What a contrast [Haley provided] to the string of ambassadors who fell on their faces in the swamp of Turtle Bay. That’s particularly true of the two envoys under President Barack Obama. [The] “experienced” hands who came before her proceeded to fail. Their key misconception was the notion that the United Nations is part of the solution to the world’s thorniest problems. Its charter was a vast treaty designed by diplomats to achieve “peace,” “security,” and “harmony.”

What hogwash.

Haley, by contrast, may have come in without experience—but that meant she also lacked for illusions. What a difference when someone knows that they’re in a viper pit—that the UN is itself the problem. And has the gumption to say so.

This became apparent the instant Haley opened her first press conference, [in which she said of the UN’s obsessive fixation on condemning the Jewish state]: “I am here to say the United States will not turn a blind eye to this anymore. I am here to underscore the ironclad support of the United States for Israel. . . . I am here to emphasize that the United States is determined to stand up to the UN’s anti-Israel bias.”

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More about: Nikki Haley, U.S. Foreign policy, United Nations, US-Israel relations