The Jordanian monarch has stressed his country’s independence and the Palestinians’ right to an independent Palestinian state. “Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine,” King Abdullah II told a meeting of writers, intellectuals and academics in Amman. “We haven’t changed politically and we will not change,” he said. “The ‘alternative Palestinian homeland’ will never be part of the discussion; it is not an option and is not in the Jordanian lexicon.”
King Abdullah’s statements were published by the Jordanian News Agency, Petra, in which he reiterated Jordan’s support for Palestinian rights. “Jordan and the future of the Palestinian people are in better shape than Israel today. Now it is the Israelis who are fearful.” This was a reference to the Arab revolutions sweeping the region which, the King added, “are not in Israel’s interests”. Jordan may share an Arab and Islamic identity with the Palestinians, he told the audience, but his country’s official positions on the Palestine issue and the issue of refugee rights, for example, “have not changed”.
The King pledged to protect Jordan, militarily if necessary, from any moves which could harm its future. “I want to reassure everyone that Jordan is not an alternative [homeland] for anyone. Will we sit still and let Jordan become such an alternative? We have an army and we are ready to fight for our country and for Jordan’s future. We have to speak out strongly and not allow this idea even to exist in some of our minds.” Jordanians, he added, have to be cautious and not allow discussions to take place which could cause Jordan “to disintegrate”.
On the matter of political reform, King Abdullah was clear: “We have no concerns regarding reform, and we are moving forward. Municipal elections will be held before the end of the year, and parliamentary elections in 2012.” Constitutional amendments, he said, “will take place within two weeks.”