Jordan Rejects Reported U.S. Proposal of Confederation with Palestinians

Jordan's King Abdullah II (R) meets with Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the Royal Palace in the capital Amman on August 8, 2018. (Photo by Khalil MAZRAAWI / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images)
KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty

TEL AVIV – The Jordanian government on Sunday rejected a reported U.S. peace proposal involving the creation of a Palestinian-Jordanian confederation that was said to have been presented to the Palestinians.

Jordanian government spokeswoman Jumana Ghneimat said that joining the Hashemite kingdom with the West Bank was not an option and her government firmly stood by the two-state solution based on the 1967 borders.

In comments reported by the Khaberni news agency, Ghneimat said that “discussing the idea of a confederation with the regions of the West Bank is not possible.”

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday expressed his support for the idea during a meeting with left-wing Knesset members and representatives from the dovish Peace Now. The confederation, he said, was an idea re-floated by President Donald Trump’s Mideast envoys, Jason Greenblatt and Jared Kushner.

The PA’s official Wafa news agency also reported unnamed “peace activists” from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party as having attended the meeting.

“I said [to Kushner and Greenblatt]: Yes, I want a three-way confederation with Jordan and Israel. I asked them if the Israelis would agree to such a proposal,” a statement by Peace Now quoted Abbas as saying.

Abbas’ spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeinah noted that the concept of a confederation had first been introduced in 1984, but that any such arrangement would preclude a two-state solution.

Abbas said he had agreed to the confederation idea so long as Israel joined it. “I told [Trump]: yes. I want a triangular confederation with Jordan and Israel. I asked if the Israelis would agree to that proposal,” he stated.

The PA president also told attendees of the meeting that Trump had personally assured him of his support for a two-state solution.

According to Peace Now, Abbas expressed his support for a demilitarized Palestinian state with NATO securing the agreement.

At the meeting, Abbas said of Israel’s domestic security service that he “consistently meets with the heads of the Shin Bet — we agree on 99 percent of the issues.”

The U.S. did not comment on Abbas’ remarks, but Greenblatt issued a statement Sunday evening saying, ‎”Over the past 19 months we have probed all relevant parties about many ideas and possibilities.”

“The plan, when released, will reflect ideas that we think are realistic, fair and implementable that will enhance the lives of the Israeli and Palestinian people,” Greenblatt continued. “We will not discuss any specific ideas or private conversations that may or may not have been had with leaders in the region.”

At the meeting, Abbas reiterated his claim that the U.S. was hostile to the Palestinians.

The Trump administration, he charged, “is closing the peace process. The U.S. wants to destroy UNRWA completely.”

On Friday, the U.S. announced a $300 million cut to UNRWA, the UN’s Palestinian refugee agency, and said that going forward the U.S. would defund it altogether. Thirty percent of UNRWA’s budget is comprised of U.S. funds. The State Department said in a statement that the U.S. “will no longer commit further funding to this irredeemably flawed operation.”

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