The Nudnik File

Nudnik - n. U.S. colloq. Esp. in Jewish usage: a pestering, nagging, or irritating person

Thursday, March 17, 2005

              The Jordan Option
Gary Sussman of Tel Aviv University discusses what Sharon's true strategic goal may be in terms of relations with the Palestinians.
His vision is no longer the creation of limited Palestinian state on some 50 percent of the West Bank, as many have long assumed. Instead, Sharon envisions a Palestinian state on a significant portion of the West Bank, possibly as much as 80 percent. Sharon is all too aware that such an entity is not “viable.” He assumes, in fact, that a two-state arrangement cannot be sustained and will not bring an end to Palestinian-Israeli strife.

In the long term, the Israeli premier hopes that the Palestinian state will meld with Jordan. His assumption is that unilateral disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank, his plan for a carefully managed transition away from direct Israeli rule over the majority of the Palestinians, will set this process in motion. Over time, Sharon calculates, contiguity between “Palestine” and its neighbor to the east, as well as increased trade, cultural ties and the “democratization” championed by the Bush administration, will induce Palestinians on both the West and East Banks of the Jordan to agitate for Palestinian-Jordanian federation themselves. If one assumes that Sharon has quietly held on to his once openly expressed belief that “Jordan is Palestine,” his break with his old supporters among the settler movements and the right becomes easier to understand.
It seems to me that this is not such a horrible outcome. If the Palestinians truly want a state, as opposed to the destruction of Israel, this would give them a much larger entity than they could get now. The Jordan option is not new, but it has been one that no one wants to discuss for fear that it could destroy the Hashemite dynasty. But if there is true democratization in Jordan, the Palestinians (who make up the majority) would most likely gain control of the government anyway.
|| Nudnik 1:12 PM
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