The Coming Opportunity

Should the Palestinian bid for statehood at the UN fail to produce any tangible results then the current events in Syria might have the unexpected effect of presenting Israel and the region with a very rare opportunity.

In addition to Hezbollah possibly losing support from Syria should Assad fall, certainly a positive development for the region, the ouster of the Syrian dictator will have serious ramifications for the Hashemite regime in Jordan.

Although not considered a ruthless dictator like Assad, King Abdullah is similar in that he represents a very small ruling minority – in Syria there is the Alawites while in Jordan there is the Hashemites. Moreover, with most of the sources of power historically concentrated in the hands of the Hashemites and their assorted Bedouin allies while much of the roughly 70% Palestinian majority feels alienated or oppressed, not surprisingly the Palestinian majority would welcome a real change in Jordan.

While the protests in Jordan have not reached the level of intensity as in other Arab countries, they are nevertheless constant and accompanied by repeated calls for change. Moreover, attempts by the king to placate his critics by offering to implement various reforms have been rejected since in the eyes of the opposition such changes still allow the king to preserve most of his absolute powers.

With the pressure mounting, the king is surely looking at events in Syria with a very watchful eye. If such a ruthless and feared dictator as Assad, not to mention long time Arab rulers like Mubarak or Gaddafi, can be toppled and removed from power, then the relatively weaker King Abdullah probably understands that his days as the leader of Jordan are numbered. The tsunami of change sweeping the region simply cannot be stopped.

This being the case, Israel and its supporters should start planning now for the “day after” in Jordan, rather than waiting for chaos to grip its eastern neighbor. Moreover, the incentive should not only be to preserve stability on the border, itself an important aspect, but rather the understanding that if the king proves to be another victim of the tsunami of change then the region will be presented with an historic opportunity to finally settle the Palestinian issue.

September events at the UN aside, it is clear that the Oslo two-state approach is a proven failure and that further territorial concessions by Israel will only lead to further warfare. As Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” In such an environment, the paradigm for settling the dispute must be changed.

For this reason Israel and its supporters would be wise to discreetly begin hooking up with alternative opposition leaders in Jordan. One such thinker is Mudar Zahran, a former Jordanian political insider turned dissident, who is openly promoting the “Jordan is Palestine” option as the only solution capable of bringing real peace and stability to the region. Moreover, his calls for the establishment of a real democratic state in Jordan that will enjoy peaceful ties with Israel and will focus on the development of a thriving open economy as a means to encourage Palestinians from around the world, including from Judea and Samaria, to opt for a life in Jordan, is something that should be welcomed by anyone who truly cares about the region. Still further such an option would be the only realistic way to end the decades-long humanitarian crisis that cynically has been perpetuated by UNRWA without actually destroying Israel.

Should Israel and its supporters fail to seize the opportunity to finally settle the Palestinian issue, then the eventual fall of King Abdullah will create the usual vacuum which in all likelihood will be filled by various anti-Israel and anti-American forces.

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9 Responses to The Coming Opportunity

  1. Terry, Eilat - Israel says:

    Dear Mr. Meltzer,

    I read your op-ed at YNET and wrote a very supportive comment.
    Of course, YNET censored the comment.
    My main point was that the main obstacle to a Jordanian solution is the Israeli political establishment being trapped in an Oslo time warp, a stagnant unimaginative basically cowardly mind-set, something similar to bureaucratic inertia.
    If YNET censored my comment, it’s likely they censor others – so, I’m sure your op-ed was better received than the comments would indicate.
    You should mention to the YNET editors that censorship defeats the purpose of having op-eds of different opinions.
    Regards,

    Terry, Eilat – Israel

    • Yoel Meltzer says:

      Terry shalom,

      Thanks for your comments. As problematic as Ynet is, in my experience it’s much more liberal than other sites in accepting talkbacks (which means the situation is pretty darn scary!). I’ll pass on your comments to my contact at Ynet.

      All the best.

      Yoel

  2. Khaldun Abd AlNabi ALQAISI says:

    Mr. Yole,

    Do you know that your article will create a lot of troubles in Jordan? Do you know that such solution will not be imposed on Jordnians and they will not accept it.

    If your government adopts such policy it should be prepared to fight a country bordering it, because all Jordanians and Palestinians will be ready to fight. It is in the interest of Israel that King remains in power.

    This proposal is completely rejected, the right answer to the conflict is two states, and Israel should withdraw to the borders on 1969. there is absolutely no any other alternative to that.

    • Yoel Meltzer says:

      Hello Khaldun,

      Thank you for your comments even if I don’t agree. I’m just a freelance writer writing an opinion piece so I’m not sure if my article will have as much effect as you claim. No one is talking about “imposing” anything. I’m offering an idea, which is backed by an Arab thinker, to end the conflict, to bring stability to the region, and to end the humanitarian crisis which has been perpetuated by UNRWA. The two-state solution, if imposed, will in the end lead to one state and it won’t be Israel.

      Yoel

  3. Terry, Eilat - Israel says:

    Shalom Yoel.

    Yes, you’re right, YNET has a more liberal talkback policy, the majority of my comments are posted. But, our media is so absolutely lousy it is scary. The Israeli media has a perfect track record – they’ve supported every wrong issue for 60 years.
    At least YNET is not quite as bad as Haaretz, thank G-d for small (very small) favours.
    I see the comment above by Mr. Khaldun, the usual threats, as if Jordan would last a week in an all-out war with us. The Arabs are lucky we have such spineless leadership.

    • Yoel Meltzer says:

      Terry,

      FYI, I forwarded your question (without your name) to my contact at Ynet and he said that they don’t censor comments based on political ideology. The only things that aren’t approved are the “never-ending talkbacks” (sometimes people write books) since they don’t have the time to go through such comments.

      Yoel

  4. Terry, Eilat - Israel says:

    Yoel, I don’t write books & they very often post very long rambling comments.
    So, I think this is a bit disingenuous.
    But thanks for the effort, much appreciated.
    Shabbat shalom.

    • Yoel Meltzer says:

      Terry,

      If my memory serves me well, you “ripped apart” my article on Ynet about the protests. However, since Ynet edited out some parts I suggest you read the original on this blog (“Reflections on the Protests”). Perhaps you will better understand my point.

      Shabbat shalom.

      Yoel

  5. Terry, Eilat - Israel says:

    Your memory does indeed serve you well. I wouldn’t say that I ”ripped apart” your argument, just that I had a different point of view.
    I’ll take another look at your article later & give you my opinion. Please note, I tend to be very ”free market” & I have a background in economics & practical business experience so I find much about Israel very disturbing, particularly that Israelis by & large, don’t have a clue about economics.

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