Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine – Interview with author Ali Shihabi – J-Wire

August 14, 2022 by David Singer

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A plan proposed by Ali Shihabi – a Saudi author and commentator on Middle East politics – proposing the merger of Jordan, Gaza and part of the West Bank into a single territorial entity to be called “The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine” – has received little attention in the Israeli media or been commented on by Israeli politicians since its June 8 release.

Yet the plan contains the following features that should excite the reluctant Israeli media to seek answers from its political leadership:

  • It would replace two previous Saudi peace proposals in 1981 and 2002 calling on Israel to withdraw completely from the West Bank
  • The two-state solution – the creation of a separate Palestinian Arab state between Jordan and Israel – promoted unsuccessfully by the United Nations for the past 29 years – is relegated to the diplomatic graveyard
  • Amman – not Jerusalem – will be the capital of The Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine
  • The right to return to Israel is abandoned.
  • West Bank, Gaza Palestinians and stateless refugees gain full citizenship in merged countries Hashemite Kingdom of Palestine with all the elements of sovereignty applicable to these territories that belong to a State fully recognized in the United Nations.

I contacted author Ali Shihabi – who kindly granted me the following interview:

What was your idea behind this paper?

I see a failure of the Israeli imagination in the search for a solution to the Palestinian tragedy. This, combined with a lack of realism that dominates Palestinian thought, has provided ample opportunity for political entrepreneurs like the Iranians to use and abuse the cause. The Israelis want to perpetuate this inertia by continually kicking the road while looking for every excuse not to do anything substantial to address this problem. Israel sees time on its side (and so far it has been proven right) but fundamentals like 7 million Arabs living between the river and the sea are a ticking time bomb that will eventually kill them. explode in the face somehow

Why Jordan?

We have seen from recent experience that state building is a near impossible task, especially in a polarized environment, so creating a “Palestinian state” from scratch is a maddening rush. At the same time, Jordan is a decently run country by regional standards and hence its government infrastructure can be used to incorporate Palestine which will instantly have a globally recognized and respected government with all the basics like security, bureaucracy government, etc.

But many Jordanians want nothing to do with it?

Yes, a distinct false “Jordanian” identity has developed over the past decades from what is really a people with no differences, ethnic or religious who have been one people since time immemorial, so that is a problem . This difference was pushed by some Jordanian elites in a quest to perpetuate their dominance. This formula, however, does not eliminate the Jordanian elites and preserves the monarchy and all its institutions, and makes Jordan/Palestine a much more viable and strategically important state with a substantial footprint on the Mediterranean and a state of crucial for regional stability, so it is really in their long-term interest. In any case, if a consensus between the powers in place decides on this formula, the Jordanian elites will be able to be convinced. They’re a minor hurdle once you separate noise from substance.

Well, a lot of Palestinians don’t want that too, it seems.

This is the million dollar question and it is a question that should be decided by a large poll and then confirmed by a plebiscite. I suspect that a majority of Palestinians, defined as those who pay the daily price for the status quo, meaning those in Gaza, the West Bank and the refugee camps in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, would vote for him once it would be clearly explained to them. It is important that they alone decide and not Palestinians comfortable in the diaspora with citizenships in other countries or other Arabs and Muslims who do not pay the price for an absolutist position. It’s easy to sit sipping your cappuccino at a Starbucks in Dubai or LA and demand unrealistic solutions because it costs you and your family nothing, while people suffering from the status quo continue to pay a heavy price.

So what is needed here to start this process?

Israel is the key factor. It holds most of the cards, and its military, economic and political success since 1948 has made its rulers arrogant and contemptuous of Arabs in general since the Israelis have imposed their conditions on the region despite all the Arabs’ efforts and noise over the years. past decades. This arrogance clouds Israeli judgment and blinds them to the opportunity that presents itself today for them to lead a lasting peace process. They can get much of what they want but have to give a little to get a lasting solution that will permanently integrate them into the region, but that will take an Israeli De Gaulle with courage and vision, and I don’t don’t see one on the horizon unfortunately

Will an Israeli De Gaulle emerge to endorse Mr. Shihabi’s plan as part of his platform in the upcoming Israeli elections on November 1? I hope the media will ask politicians for their answers before election day.

Author’s Note: The cartoon – commissioned exclusively for this article – is of Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones” – one of Israel’s leading political and social commentators – whose cartoons graced Israeli and international media columns publications for decades.

David Singer is a Sydney lawyer and a founding member of the International Analysts Network

Lola R. McClure