The ‘alternative homeland’ is not an illusion

تم نشره في Tue 25 February / Feb 2014. 01:00 AM - آخر تعديل في Tue 25 February / Feb 2014. 04:21 PM

By Fahed Khitan

The volatile and ambiguous history of the Palestinian-Jordanian relations is still haunting us today. In the last 15 years, there was a so-called demarcation of the relations, thanks to the "Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine" slogan.

The fourth kingdom is no longer a prisoner of the dreams and aspirations of the last generation. The slogan "Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan" - popular during the engagement era - completely fell.

That slogan only spawned fear at the heart of Jordanians of an alternative homeland, leading people to obsess about identity so much that it has become pathological. The Zionist policy was not only feeding these fears but also adopting them as a political methodology.

While each of the Israeli leaders who has ever called for a Palestinian state east of the river is now dead, the slogan still lives in a generation of Jordanian politicians who lives decades of turbulent relations. To be more accurate, this slogan has turned into a motif in Jordanian political discourse.

The King was talking yesterday "for the last time" about the alternative homeland and its illusions, with anger apparent on his face; he talked about it tens of times before, but nobody listened. I'm afraid an entire generation belongs to the past, and will not listen in the future.

We have built a history of illusions in the past that is hard for some of us to forget. Decade-long policies led us to feel that we are a vulnerable target.

We are alienated by terms like federation and confederation, dubbing them a conspiracy for an alternative homeland - which is true; though we forget that they were a product of Jordan par excellence.

The first time a federation was suggested was in the united kingdom project in 1972, which contained an unambiguous reference to renaming the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to "The Arab United Kingdom", which will consist of two independent regions (Jordan and Palestine, to each of which an independent government and parliament, and a central government in Amman.

The confederation was also clearly stated in the "Amman Agreement" between Jordan and the Palestinian Liberation Organization in 1985, written up by the Jordanians. One of the key principles in it was the "right of the Palestinian people to define their fate, framed by a confederation with Jordan".

It is true that the two projects - regardless of the time difference - were a step backward, but they are a base for the Jordanians to worry about any step to the future.

King Abdullah II disposed of the federation and confederation illusions, but the state's bureaucratic structure still curry this heavy burden, and look doubtfully at every step of the stalled peace process as a project for a solution on Jordan's expense.

Sometimes, I find a excuse for those because they still have their old convictions that have been entrenched by the years - they think the Hashemites will not give up their Palestine dream, and that Jordan's role, and its existence even, are dependent on the Palestinian solution.

Yesterday's heritage is heavy, and will continue to follow us as long as there are those, among us, who do not believe in Jordan as a sovereign state on its own, with its own identity



This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition.