Palestinians living in Jordan deserve to be Jordanian citizens

Arabs who consider themselves to be Palestinians deserve a state; they have one – it’s called Jordan. Terrorist organizations, such as the PLO, Hamas, PLFP, Islamic Jihad and others, do not deserve support, or a state.A “two-state solution,” therefore, based on a Palestinian state in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank) run by terrorist organizations dedicated to Israel’s destruction is not a solution. That only prevents peace and freedom for Palestinians.The alternative requires a new way of thinking, one that is focused on people, not politics. Supporting the establishment of a state must be based on humanitarian principles that will allow Palestinians to exercise real self-determination that does not depend on what terrorist leaders determine.This was the fundamental mistake of the Oslo Accords and the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, which ignored the Palestinians and focused on a political solution that empowered terrorist regimes. It failed and will continue to fail because it did not offer freedom for Palestinians, but condemned them to live under terrorist dictatorships.Most Palestinians are not terrorists and don’t support terrorism. They want to live normal, productive lives. They want to protect their children, not encourage them to become killers and suicide bombers. They want to teach them values, to improve themselves, their families and their communities, not to become self-destructive and destructive to others.That is not, however, what they are taught by terrorists who exploit them and sacrifice them to the goal of destroying Israel and murdering Jews. Most Palestinians want a life with a higher meaning and purpose; that won’t and can’t happen under terrorist regimes. Jordan offers a humanitarian alternative.Jordan is a viable country with a relatively stable economic and political structure. It has vast areas of unused land, but lacks people and water. Access to fresh water can help Jordan flourish by enabling it to absorb large numbers of people and extend its population centers eastward. Utilization of the abundant water sources in Turkey and the Caspian Sea – the largest body of fresh water in the world – could turn eastern Jordan into an oasis, providing agricultural products, enabling business and industrial centers, and encouraging regional stability and economic development.

The possibility that Jordan could become a center for economic trade was given a new impetus recently when Israel proposed a rail link between Haifa and Jordan. Such a link would connect Jordan with European markets, and from there to the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia. The recently rebuilt rail line between Haifa and Beit She’an is the beginning of this plan. Terrorist organizations oppose it.Recognizing Jordan as a Palestinian state, while maintaining its status as a monarchy, reflects the national identity of a majority of its population. The highly popular Queen Rania is considered Palestinian (via her parents). Palestinians are a growing segment of Jordan’s political, social and economic life; they sit in parliament.According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, there were nearly 4 million Arabs of Palestinian descent living in Jordan in 2009, about half of whom were registered as refugees in 2014 and about 20% of whom live in UNRWA-sponsored “camps.” Most, but not all, Palestinian residents have Jordanian citizenship; Jordan is the only Arab country that granted citizenship to Palestinians.Promoting Jordan as the Arab Palestinian state is consistent with international law and the creation of Transjordan in 1922 as part of a “two-state-solution.” It would resolve the problem of national self-determination for Palestinian Arabs living in the West Bank, as well as those living in Israel and elsewhere.Palestinian Arabs living in UNRWA-administered towns in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan should be given the opportunity to become citizens in their host countries. They can and should be absorbed into the countries where they live, or be allowed to emigrate. International aid programs should be operated by countries, not by UNRWA, and provide them with the means to become productive citizens. This can be done, for example, by providing them with land in Jordan where they can build farms and communities.A real two-state solution – Israel and Jordan – is in the national interests of both countries, as well as for Palestinians. It can bring peace and prosperity and ensures the security and stability of the region. A Jordanian-Israeli confederation can replace failure and despair with opportunity and hope. It can inspire creativity, cooperation, and freedom – the raison d’être of nation-states.  The writer is a PhD historian and journalist in Israel.

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