While Amman is sensitive to claims that ‘Jordan is the Palestinian state’, head of senate in independence day speech refers to ‘two united banks, with kingdom emerging on both banks of holy river’
In a ceremony commemorating Jordan’s independence day, Taher al-Masri, head of the country’s senate, spoke of the “state of two united banks”, London-based al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Wednesday.
This is a rare and surprising statement, which may be interpreted as granting legitimization to the viewpoint that the Palestinian residents of the West Bank are part of the Hashemite Kingdom.
Speaking before an audience of some 1,000 people, including the royal family and Kind Abdullah II, al-Masri spoke of “the two united banks, with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan emerging on both banks of the holy river.”
After the outbreak of the First Intifada in 1987, Jordan’s late King Hussein renounced all territorial claims over the West Bank. Jordan repeatedly emphasized that it is a separate entity from the West Bank, and that a solution to the Palestinian problem will not take place in its borders.
Since then, Jordanian officials have not only abstained from making such statements, but have also expressed fury any time Israeli elements make similar claims such as “Jordan is the Palestinian state”.
The Jordanians were outraged last year when Knesset Member Arieh Eldad (National Union) submitted a bill calling for two states for two peoples on either side of the Jordan River. Amman protested to the Israeli ambassador in Jordan, and parliament members called on the government to cut ties with Israel.
There are also those that may interpret al-Masri’s comments as more than a claim to responsibility over the Palestinians, but also as territorial ambitions in the West bank. Jordan’s official stance rejects any such claims in light of its peace agreement with Israel.