Jordanian PM Omar Razzaz on the “Single-State Solution” (Part 2)


Part 1: Jordanian PM Omar Razzaz on the “Single-State Solution”

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz proclaims that if there is no prospect of a “two-state solution” to the Arab-Israeli conflict – by this he means if there is no prospect of a solution that meets the Arabs’ maximalist demands – then the Arabs should support a “one-state solution.”

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“We are against any steps that are not within an overall scheme that leads to a two-state solution,” he said. “Short of that, if we’re not going towards a two-state solution, let us know what we’re going towards, what kind of one-state solution we’re going towards.”

The “two-state solution” Razzaz is referring to requires Israel to be squeezed back within the 1949 armistice lines. Within these lines, Israel was a mere nine miles wide at its narrowest, from Qalqilya to the sea. These were what even the dovish Abba Eban described in 1973 as “the lines of Auschwitz.” Israel will never return to those lines, and neither under the Mandate for Palestine, nor under U.N. Resolution 242, is it required to do so. Those armistice lines were never internationally recognized borders. In 1949, Israel — despite its misgivings, and because it was so eager for peace — offered to make those lines into such borders, but the Arab states refused. That offer cannot now be revived.

There is another “two-state solution” which Razzaz refuses to recognize. That is the carefully crafted plan by the Trump Administration in which Israel would extend its sovereignty to only 30% of the West Bank, despite being entitled, according to the Mandate for Palestine, to all of the territory from the Golan Heights in the north to the Red Sea in the south, and from the Jordan River in the east to the Mediterranean in the west. The Palestinians would for the first time have a state of their own, consisting of 70% of the West Bank, 100% of Gaza, and two large swathes of territory in the Negev that Israel would transfer to the new state of “Palestine.” In addition, the Palestinians would be given $50 billion, the largest aid package for a single state in history. Why is this not a “two-state solution”? Only because Razzaz, and Mahmoud Abbas, and other Arabs refuse to contemplate anything other than a complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-1967 lines. And that will never happen.

He warned Israel could become increasingly isolated in not just the region, but also the global community, if it pushes ahead with annexation, drawing a parallel with international attitudes toward South Africa when it was under an apartheid regime.

“South Africa was not a problem for its neighboring countries; South Africa was a problem for the world. If Israel continues on this track, it’s going to be a problem for the world,” he said.

Again Prime Minister Razzaz raises the specter of an “apartheid regime.” But we have seen that there is no apartheid in Israel, not in the Knesset, not in the Supreme Court, not in the diplomatic corps, not in offices or businesses or schools or hospitals or sports teams or museums or restaurants. Comparing the situation in Israel to South African “apartheid” does not hold. But that will not prevent Razzaz and other Arabs from continuing to invoke that scare word, and make that charge of “apartheid” secure in the knowledge that most people do not know how Arabs live in Israel, where they enjoy full legal equality.

Razzaz also ruled out any integration of Palestinians into Jordan as part of an agreement to end the conflict.

Jordan will not absorb transfers of Palestinians,” Razzaz stressed. “Jordan will not become ‘the’ Palestine, as the Israeli extreme right wishes. And Jordan will not give up its custodianship over [holy Muslim and Christian sites in] Jerusalem. These three are clear for us.”

Razzaz denies that Jordan could become the Palestinian state, incorporating the Palestinians living in the West Bank into Jordan. Why does he think Israel would favor such an outcome? When Israelis say that “Jordan is Palestine,” they are making a historical point: Jordan (formerly the Emirate of Transjordan) was carved out of territory that was originally supposed to be part of the Palestine Mandate – all of the territory east of the Jordan River, “out to the desert,” that constituted 78% of the total territory that had been planned to be part of the Mandate for Palestine.. This is not what Israel desires – it wants to keep the Jordan Valley partly in order to prevent the Palestinians in the West Bank from joining forces with the Palestinians in Jordan, who make up 70% of that country’s population. As far as the Jordanian custodianship over Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, Israel has no intention of changing that arrangement. The 1994 peace treaty with Jordan includes the promise by Israel to “respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.” The Christian holy sites, however, were deliberately not mentioned.

Jordan has reportedly made clear to Israel that it will not accept even a limited annexation of West Bank land. The kingdom has threatened to abrogate or downgrade its 1994 peace treaty with Israel if the annexation goes ahead and King Abdullah is said to be so infuriated at Israel’s intentions that he has stopped accepting calls from Netanyahu.

The threat by Jordan to abrogate its treaty with Israel is evidence that for the Muslims, treaties with Infidel states are not solemn commitments that must be upheld, but agreements to be breached or abandoned whenever the Muslim side feels the need. The Muslim model for treaty-making with non-Muslims remains Muhammad’s Treaty of Hudaibiyyah of 628 A.D. According to this treaty, Muhammad and the Meccans he had been fighting would observe a peace (a “hudna” or truce), lasting ten years. But after only 18 months, believing that his own side had grown sufficiently strong, Muhammad attacked the Meccans.

To sum up, here is where things stand:

The Palestinians refuse even to discuss the Trump Plan as a basis for negotiations. They refuse to discuss any peace plan that does not meet their maximalist demands: Israel’s return to the 1949 armistice lines, including giving up the Old City of Jerusalem. In 2000 at Camp David Yassir Arafat walked away from Ehud Barak’s offer of 94% of the West Bank; in 2008 Mahmoud Abbas walked away from Ehud Olmert’s offer to relinquish almost all of the West Bank, including Israeli control of the Old City. For both Arafat and Abbas, Israel had to agree to return to the pre-1967 lines. Anything less was unacceptable.

Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz has another bright idea (along with Peter Beinart and millions of others who wish Israel ill): if the Israelis keep stubbornly refusing to accept the generous Arab offer to allow them to subsist within those 1949 lines, then a “one-state solution” presents itself. With the addition of nearly four million Arabs in Gaza and the West Bank, this “one state” would have nearly 6 million Arabs and 6.8 million Jews. Given the differences in Arab and Jewish fertility rates, in less than five years the Arabs would be a majority, and then what had been the Jewish state would no longer exist. In this one state, Arabs would presumably serve in the same army as Jews. Would those Muslim Arabs be training to defend the state, or to wrest control of the state for the exclusive benefit of its Arab citizens? How could the Jews feel secure in a country with hundreds of thousands of Arabs serving in both active and reserve units, in numbers equal to those of the Jews? Who would have control of Israel’s nuclear arsenal? And what if the Arabs outside Israel (or whatever name the country would then be called) decided to invade this state yet again, secure in the knowledge that they would now be helped immeasurably by the Arab half of the population, that would constitute a gigantic fifth column? Questions, questions.

A “one-state solution” – the dream of Arabs determined to destroy Israel, demographically and then militarily – holds obvious appeal for Omar Razzaz and his fellows. But the Israelis, though they sometimes make mistakes, like the Oslo Accords, have not gone off the deep end. There will be no “one-state solution.” And any “two-state solution” will have to start from the understanding that for Israel there is no going back to the 1949 armistice lines. Nor to anything remotely close.

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