A “key” for a “key”

تم نشره في Thu 13 February / Feb 2014. 09:01 PM - آخر تعديل في Thu 13 February / Feb 2014. 09:01 PM

By Mohammad Aburumman

We do not need to guesses or leaks to know that the main issues that will be addressed during the meeting of U.S. President Barack Obama with the King slated for today; invariably the two main issues are the Syrian file and the issue of finding a peaceful settlement.

The first file will have nothing new to offer, with the U.S. administration’s complete decline to attack Syria and the failure of the Geneva talks.

The file that is more important — and has the attention of the Jordanians with great anxiety and sensitivity— is the peace deal, and what ideas and visions could Kerry bring with him in his upcoming, deferred, visit to the region.

The agreement, according to most leaks and forecasts, will recognize a Palestinian state with the 1967 borders, with land and residents swap during a transitional period, with Jerusalem as a capital for both the Israeli and the Palestinian state, international peacekeepers on the Jordanian-Palestinian border (Jordan Valley), and granting the Israelis the right to interfere in the Palestinian hotspots, which is still a point of contention in regards to the level of interference and scope.

The sensitive parts are — for their historical, symbolic, and legal dimensions — the refugees, rights of return, and the insistence of the Israeli government that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state.

Regarding the refugees, the practical alternatives might be arguable between the parties, but in essence will entail forsaking the right to return, pragmatically, through compensation or other nationalities, like the Canadian, for example.

The file in Jordan, however, is taken through a completely different approach relevant to the domestic formula, which is making these extremely sensitive when taken up by social and political powers.

The biggest obstacle is the recognition of the Jewish state, which no Arab or Palestinian party has the power to do — or dare to discuss. What is novel here, as per the leaks, is that the American “mediator” has adopted this demand.

Generally speaking, Arabs and Palestinians are betting against Israel rejecting the Kerry plan, which is a wager my colleague Oraib Al Rantawi has warned against lately. If you examine Kerry’s suggestion we find great compromises needed from the Arabs and the Palestinians, and a shift of the fireball to the side of the West Bank and Jordan — serving Israel completely.

However, the Israeli-Israeli point of contention is on whether more can be achieved with time and with the collapse of the regional Arabia — even though what they have achieved, in terms of compromises off the Arabs on the refugees, return, Jerusalem, borders, and sovereignty is massive.

The Israelis have reached, with the previous compromises on behalf of the Palestinians, to a new theory, calling it a “Key for a key”; the Israelis want to trade the right of return for the Palestinians with that of the Israelis who were living in Arab cities, who were estimated, according to writer Shalom Yerushalmi in the Israeli Maariv newspaper, at 10 million persons. This number came up before the negotiations and pressures hit high tide, what can we offer then, when it does, to the Israelis and Kerry?!

In the upcoming period, Jordan will definitely discover a lot, from the King’s meeting with Obama, about the American intentions and trends about Kerry’s plane, and the extent to which the US administration is taking it seriously, whether they believe it could succeed or fail, and its reflection on Jordan and Palestine, especially about the Jordanian domestic formula — the part which led to many domestic discussions and arguments lately.

A question of more prominence, however — which we have failed, or our officials have dodged for years — is that if the better option is for Kerry’s plan to fail and the Israelis reject it, which means a move towards the scenarios the Israeli right holds dear, what are the alternatives we have, after all the concessions that we have made until today? What can we offer tomorrow if the current deteriorating Arab and Palestinian situation persists?


This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.