The Jordan Option: The Only Game in Town

President Trump walked back his remark that he supports a two-state solution.  He now supports whatever the parties want.  That isn't an improvement.  For 30 years, the parties have not been able to reach an agreement based on what they want.

President Obama tried to remedy that situation by imposing a solution on Israel to no avail.

Since taking office, Trump has taken a different approach.  He is seeking an agreement that ignores the Palestinian Authority, which he is currently destroying, and instead speaks directly to the Palestinians, who he believes are interested in a better life rather than in destroying Israel.

In addition, he has recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and has proceeded to unravel UNRWA, thereby taking two final status issues off the table

Plus, he and outgoing ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley relentlessly attacked the U.N. and its agencies for their bias against Israel.  Also, he has withdrawn America from both UNHCR and UNESCO.

Finally, in line with his rejection of multilateralism, he is ignoring the Quartet and the U.N. and going it alone to achieve a deal not bound by the dogmas of the past, but on the possibilities.

Trump drove this point home in his address to the U.N. by saying the U.S. will not be "held hostage to old dogmas, discredited ideologies."

The Jordan Option, as proposed by Mudar Zahran, leader of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition, and me, recognizes that nothing acceptable to Israel can be achieved by negotiating with King Abdullah or Mahmoud Abbas.  This option is very much in line with Trump's Deal of the Century, which considers Jordan to be the Palestinian state east of the Jordan River and Israel, the Jewish state west of the river.

Both Abdullah and Abbas rejected such a deal in their recent speeches to the U.N.

Abdullah said:

Only a two-state solution based on international law and relevant UN resolutions can meet the needs of both sides: an end to conflict, a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with east Jerusalem as its capital, and a secure Israel, fully part of its own region, recognised by Arab and Muslim states around the world[.]

Abbas said, among the many lies and misrepresentations:

But now our view of the United States is that it does not have the right to be a mediator on its own.  We have the Quartet. ...

I came before the Security Council on the 20th of February this year and presented an initiative calling for the convening of an international peace conference based on the relevant UN resolutions and the internationally endorsed terms of reference and parameters.  Such a conference should involve broad international participation that includes regional and international stakeholders, led by the Permanent Members of the Security Council and the Quartet. ...

Peace in our region cannot be realized without an independent Palestinian State, with East Jerusalem as its capital and with all of its holy sites. ...

We want the right to self-determination. Nothing more or less.

When the Trump team is optimistic about the chances of reaching a deal, everyone else is pessimistic and attacks the president and his people for being naïve or worse.

Trump knows that if he sticks to the past, he will meet with failure, as everyone else does.  His optimism is born out of the fact that he is rejecting "old dogmas" and "tired notions" and the demands of the P.A. and its backers.  Instead, he is focused on "helping the Palestinian people" to have a better life.  This includes naturalizing them as Jordanian citizens and providing them with jobs and other forms of assistance.

After meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Trump said "I like the two-state solution."  He added, to everyone's astonishment, "I want a plan that's solid, understood by both sides, really semi-agreed by both sides before we present.  I would say two-three-four months."

Given the total rejection of his ideas by Abdullah and Abbas, how can he expect to have semi-agreement within "two-three-four months"?

The only answer to that question is that he does not expect to have a semi-agreement with either of them.  Perhaps he expects that Mudar Zahran will replace Abdullah and knows, based on my writings and Zahran's speeches and interviews, that he would have Zahran's agreement on behalf of all Palestinians to his plan.  Eighty-three-year-old Abbas is irrelevant.

I can't think of any other way to achieve semi-agreement.  Can you?

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