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.