Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas, visited King Abdullah of Jordan on Jan 29 and made a special point of saying publically:
“Hamas stands firm against Israel’s schemes to turn Jordan into a substitute homeland. Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine. We insist on restoring Palestinian rights,”
King Abdullah added his two cents:
“Jordan supports the Palestinian Authority as well as Palestinian reconciliation,”
“Uniting the Palestinian stand will strengthen the Palestinian people and help restore their rights,”
Of course they were both referring specifically to the efforts of Mudar Zahran to do just that, namely, “turn Jordan into a substitute homeland” for the Palestinians.
I am glad they went public with this issue. Zahran’s plan and its opposition are now front page news.
Meshaal referred to it as “Israel’s scheme” without any evidence in support. But that is to be expected, because Hamas blames Israel for everything.
Israel for its part wants nothing to do with it. She wants the status quo and the Peace treaty with Jordan to remain. Zahran, for his part, wants nothing to do with Israel. It would just prejudice his chances of success. Zahran is doing this for the Palestinians living in Jordan and not for Israel.
Dr Josef Olmert in Huffington Post dealt with this today:
“Interestingly enough, the King did not mention the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a root cause of his and his Kingdom’s problems, an omission that comes as a sharp contradiction to what he said in some of his other recent interviews. In them, he blasted Israel for its lack of effort in the peace process, attacked those in Israel (though never mentioning specific names) who relate to Jordan as the alternate Palestinian homeland — the misguided Jordan-is-Palestine crowd of extreme Israeli right-wingers — and went as far as threatening to use his military to prevent it from happening.
“The rhetoric was harsh, and to many in Israel it seemed totally irrelevant, as the King knows full well that the current Israeli government completely rejects the Jordan-is-Palestine outcry. It seemed that the King has decided to assume a new role — that of the regional pontificator-in-chief, particularly when it concerns Israel and its PM Benjamin Netanyahu. “
But there is nothing new here in that both Hamas and Abdullah don’t want Jordan to become Palestine. This would be so even if Zahran were not organizing his Jordanian Palestinians.
The idea that Israel is behind it, real or imagined, would fortify their efforts to prevent it though no more fortifications are necessary.
If the Muslim Brotherhood really believed that they would win the elections, they would insist on them at a time of their choosing. Their alliance with Abdullah would only be temporary. This supports Zahran’s argument that the Muslim Brotherhood would not win the elections, the Palestinians would.
Israel’s real concern is that Zahran’s initiative may destabilize the peace treaty with Jordan. This treaty was threatened by the King when Israel poisoned Meshaal in 1996 in Jordan, resulting in the King demanding from Israel the antidote on pain of ending the treaty.
Jordan is not stable now and is expected to be less stable if and when Assad falls. One cannot expect that things will remain as they are. Either Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood will take over and kill the peace deal, as they are threatening to do in Egypt, or Zahran will succeed.
Certainly Israel has a stake in developments. It is for her to decide whether to be passive or active.