Jordan yesterday rejected and condemned the alleged US plan for a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, saying it was not a matter up for discussion.
Spokeswoman for the Jordanian government, Jumana Ghneimat, said: “A confederation between Jordan and Palestine is not open for discussion. Jordan’s position is firm and clear regarding the Palestinian issue—a two-state solution and the establishment of a Palestinian state on the 1967 borders,” Ynet reported.
The prospect of a confederation was allegedly raised by US envoys Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner during meetings with Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas and Jordan’s King Abdullah. Under the proposed agreement, Jordanian security forces would be responsible for protecting the West Bank and the border between Israel and the confederation, a move which has been seen as an attempt to make the Hashemite Kingdom “Israel’s border guard”. However, the proposed agreement “left unclear the future status of the Jordan Valley, which Israel has always insisted must remain under its control.”
The proposition was revealed yesterday after Abbas met with a delegation from Israeli NGO Peace Now in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank. In response, Abbas told Kushner and Greenblatt: “Yes, I want a three-way confederation with Jordan and Israel,” the Times of Israel (ToI) reported, adding that “the [Palestinian] Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry declined to comment on Abbas’ statements.”
Commenting on the revelations, US envoy Jason Greenblatt issued a statement saying: “Over the past 19 months we have probed all relevant parties about many ideas and possibilities” but stressed that “we will not discuss any specific ideas or private conversations that may or may not have been had with leaders in the region,” ToI reported.
The idea of a Palestinian-Jordanian federation has been floated on several previous occasions and is often advocated by those who are against Palestinian statehood. Supporters of this approach point to the high number of Palestinians living in Jordan – estimated to be more than two million registered refugees according to UNRWA. A further 10,000 Palestinian refugees from Syria who fled the ongoing Syrian Civil War have also sought UNRWA assistance in Jordan.
However, despite formally having full Jordanian citizenship, Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that many Palestinians living in Jordan have had their citizenship withdrawn in the past decade, leaving them stateless. HRW interpreted this denial of citizenship as evidence of the intention to return Palestinians to the West Bank in the event of any peace deal with Israel.
Officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan maintains close relations with both Israel and the Palestinian Authority and maintains its custodianship of Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and other Waqf land. Jordan previously controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem until both were occupied by Israel during the Six Day War of 1967.