If the leaks of US President Donald Trump’s “deal of the century” turn out to be true، or somewhat true، a few countries across the region will have to face hard choices. One of those countries is Israel. Will Israel accept being a bi-national state for both Palestinians and Israeli Jews?
With the practical death of the two-state solution، which nearly a third of Israelis now support، Israel will have to make choices that will not only affect its internal make-up and external relations، but will have serious ramifications for neighbouring countries and international law.
With the unprecedented blatant support from the Trump administration and the implementation of practical steps in favour of Israel، including recognising Jerusalem as its capital، moving the American embassy to Jerusalem، recognising the annexation of the Syrian Golan Heights and، now، introducing the language of annexing the West Bank، or parts of it، especially Area C that constitutes the majority of the West Bank، the “deal” is coming together gradually whether we like it or not. It will be imposed either forcefully، seductively or both.
According to the latest Haaretz poll، 42 per cent of Israelis “back” the annexation of the West Bank، while only 28 per cent oppose it. The backers differ on the conditions of the annexation، but it is important to know that only 11 per cent support annexation with full political rights for the Palestinians. Only 15 per cent support annexing Area C. Twenty per cent of Israeli Arabs support the annexation of the West Bank with political rights، as opposed to 9 per cent among Israeli Jews.
Despite its staunch position on all illegal annexations، Jordan will be most affected، whether by choice or design. The leaks indicate that there is pressure on Jordan to “officially naturalise Palestinian refugees”. This means turning a blind eye to، and possibly facilitating، the continuous loss of the “refugee” status of Palestinians in Jordan، whether citizens or not. This helps Israel and Trump’s team solve Israel’s problem at the expense of Jordan and the Palestinians. Such pressure puts Jordan، Palestinians and Palestinian refugees in Jordan and elsewhere in a very precarious position، facing very hard choices.
A response to this impasse cannot، and should not، be left to Jordan alone. It has to be arranged with all other partners who care about international law and the ethical values of justice، fairness and humanity. Jordanians of all walks of life must have a say too. It is their future after all and they should not be surprised neither by force، nor by seduction.