A suggestion for a Palestinian State
The Palestinians already have a state. They have had it for 93 years. However, there is understandable confusion, because their state has never been called Palestine. It has always been called Jordan, even though half of its inhabitants are Palestinians, the children of Palestinians, or the grandchildren of Palestinians who fled to Jordan during and after the 1948 Israeli War of independence.
More than four times the size of pre-1967, pre-Six Day War Israel, Jordan was created by Great Britain, in 1922, by Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill. Although he called himself a Christian Zionist, Churchill separated two thirds of the Palestine Mandate east of the River Jordan, which the League of Nations gave to Great Britain after the First World War to facilitate the establishment of a national home for the Jewish People.
The British called the new entity the Emirate of Trans-Jordan and prohibited Jews from settling in it. In 1946, its name was changed to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
Since most people don’t know history, or slant and skew it to suit their own scenarios, any suggestion to call Jordan Palestine is anathema to the Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It also shocks those partisans of Palestine who do not live in the region and who know even less about the region’s history.
It will be neither cheap nor easy, especially for Jordan, which has a large population who are not of Palestinian descent, and which has a peace treaty with Israel, to accept what I am suggesting. Nevertheless, here is what must be done.
Israel must finish off Hamas militarily once and for all, and it must then annex the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
It must then integrate the Arabs living in these territories, just as, after 1948, it integrated the Arabs who chose to remain as minority citizens in the Jewish State.
In its public relations and its private diplomatic contacts, Israel must insist that there will never be a second sovereign Palestine. Israel will have to do this day and night, again and again, until both Israel’s friends and enemies are sensitized to the idea.
The role of UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which has been around since 1949, must be drastically altered. Instead of doing everything it can to perpetuate the stay-put refugee status of the Palestinians, UNRWA will have to prepare them either to remain under Israeli jurisdiction permanently or move to Jordan, whose name might be changed once again in order to include the word Palestine in its official title.
Compensating and transferring millions of Palestinians to Jordan, already burdened by the Syrians and Lebanese who are escaping from the carnage wrought by Bashar Assad, will take money. Tons of it. But it can be done. Foreign donors have donated money to the Palestinian refugees for decades. Between 1993 and 2003, one source reports, they have “received the highest amount of international aid of any recipient in the world since the Second World War.”
The Palestinians deserve one state of their own. They do not deserve two.