With rumors flying that President Trump is readying the release of his long awaiting Israel-Palestinian peace plan, obersvers have noted the non-commitment there still is to the two-state paradigm. Trump Assistant Victoria Coates can be heard below insisting that the administration “is not committed to the two-state formul” and explains that it means “whatever the sides want.”
So what is Trump planning to release?
Given the recent events surrounding his decertification of the Iran deal, moving the embassy to Jerusalem, the Gaza riots, as well the Palestinian Authorities response to all of this, it would seem improbable that Trump is banking on the kleptocracy and mafia of Mahmoud Abbas’s Fatah to be able to commit to a peace plan.
With all of the noise in the past week there has been one country conspicuously quiet and that is Jordan. The fact is, Trump’s non-committal to a two-state paradigm appears to be setting the stage for the only real solution to the Israel-Palestinian conundrum and that is the “Jordan is Palestine” model with some tweaks.
The original Palestinian Mandate was made up what is today Israel (both pre 1967 and post 1967) and Jordan. While the Balfour declaration said that the Jews deserved a homeland in Palestine clearly meaning both sides of the Jordan River, the British ended up splitting the Mandate in two along the Jordan River (although originally it as supposed to be 10 km East of the Jordan River). The East side became Trans Jordan and was given to the Hashemites in 1922 as a reward for their help during World War One. The Hashemites were originally from Mecca and were chased out by the House of Saud.
In 1922, Abdullah, the emir and soon to be King of (Trans) Jordan was placed in power over a people not his own and effectively came to rule a majority population of Palestinian Arabs. Jordan today is a shaky monarchy having need to keep the Palestinian population from gaining too much power in order to survive. This is why the current King Abdullah often uses Israel as a scapegoat to hide his own policies. This strategy is no longer working.
Trump’s plan appears to be in favor of some sort confederation between the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan as a Palestinian entity and an autonomous area in most of Areas A and B in Judea and Samaria. Area C would be retained by Israel. When it comes to Jerusalem the current situation appears to be the best way to make all sides happy. Jordan would still hold onto its custodial rights over the Muslim and Christian holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and Israel would retain security control.
Essentially a combination of the Jordan is Palestine model and Naftali Bennett’s plan seen below. The difference being Jordan would control A and B as noted above, while Bennett leaves it in the hands of the Palestinian Authority.
Why do I think this is the plan? Because Trump wants a deal and yet he wants a deal that works. Relying on the Palestinian Authority to sign or even uphod a deal is pointless. Doing so would destablize both Israel and Jordan. By basing his deal on the peace deal already agreed to by Israel and Jordan, Trump would effectively be ending the Palestinian-Israel conflict simply by recognizing history and reality.
So if this plan makes sense, why hasn’t it been tried before? The answer lies with the King of Jordan. Up until now he has always used the Palestinian issue as a distraction. The King fears that an acceptance of the “Jordan is Palestine” model would effectively doom his regime in a rapid fashion.
The Trump team appears to understand that and is perhaps readying some sort of carrot for the royal family. It remains to be seen what that is