The Hashemite king knows that true peace would end his significance as a ruler. The sooner he is advised on a good exit strategy, the closer we’ll be to positive change for Jordanians, Palestinians, and Israelis.
The Israeli-Arab conflict has created a complex situation in which regional peace has become unfeasible for over seven decades. One of the key reasons this conflict has persisted for so long is the fact that Jordan’s monarchy, the Hashemite family, is not fulfilling the role it was given from day one: responsibility for Arabs of the British Mandate for Palestine. Instead, the current regime sustains a situation in which the country has no ability to serve peace nor to solve the many problems it could solve. Jordan’s frozen-in-time peace role is the outcome of the current regime’s policies: The Hashemite regime wants to keep the situation as is and thus has created a Jordan in which the requirements for peace could never be met.
As one who wants to usher in an era of peace and prosperity for the Jordanian and Palestinian people, my team and I have been busy finalizing plans for a “New Jordan” – a Jordan with solid, secular policies that will propel both the peace talks and Jordan into the 21st century and beyond.
The New Jordan will crack down on radical Islamists who have been nesting in the country for almost seven decades now.
The New Jordan will ban the Muslim Brotherhood and designate it as a terror group. The Muslim Brotherhood has been headquartered in Jordan since the 1950s. The global Muslim Brotherhood is headquartered in Amman’s Al-Abdali District, just 3 miles from the king’s private palace complex. This group has been the mother of all terrorist groups in the world, with all major global terrorist leaders emerging from its ranks, including al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden, current al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and ISIS head Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. Dissolving the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan will deprive this radical Ideology of its most effective tool.
Further, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan controls Hamas. In fact, as I have noted on several occasions, Hamas remains the Palestine chapter of the Muslim Brotherhood of Jordan. Once the New Jordan cuts off the snake’s head, Hamas will become a headless tail. Only this could bring true peace and quiet to Gaza.
The New Jordan will recognize the country’s citizenship act of 1952, which identifies almost every Palestinian as a Jordanian citizen. Only this could solve the inhumane and stateless status of millions of Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, and even 450,000 who remain stateless in Jordan itself.
The Hashemite regime has alienated and disenfranchised Jordan’s 80+% Palestinian majority, telling them that they must claim a “right of return” and “go home to liberate Palestine.” The king doesn’t want to lose this majority, which pays full taxes and receives few if any state services in return. What he wants is to create further misery, putting more pressure on both the US and Israel and thus giving himself more “significance.”
The New Jordan will not use Al-Aqsa Mosque as a tool to leverage its political position. Instead, it will honor freedom of worship in a place held dear by both Muslims and Jews. Only this recognition of mutual rights to the holy shrine can bring peace.
The New Jordan will open all doors to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, instead of flirting with Iran, as the current Jordanian regime does.
The New Jordan will expand its peace with Israel from theoretical to practical, through building further economic ties and serving as a regional hub for the economics of peace, through which Arab states could buy Israeli products and Israeli trucks could transport Israeli merchandise to the rest of the Arab world. Under King Abdullah, this is impossible.
The New Jordan will seek to be a beacon for the fulfillment of the Bahrain Economic Peace Workshop, which was aimed at advancing the lives of Palestinians and Israelis alike. Jordan’s king boycotted this workshop and sent one of his junior officials to fill his seat. He knows that true peace would end his significance as a ruler. On this, Abdullah and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas are in the same predicament.
The New Jordan could come true. Thousands of Jordanians are already demonstrating in the streets, chanting secular slogans, not “Death to America” or “Death to Israel.” They must be supported. The king must be advised on what his best exit strategy may be.
The sooner this happens, the closer we get to peace and prosperity. Before a New Jordan is a fact on the ground, it is unlikely that any tangible, positive change will be felt by the Jordanians, Palestinians or Israelis.