Jordan’s King Abdullah II spoke at the U.N. General Assembly on Tuesday. His speech revealed several nuances which, I fear, too many diplomats may have failed to grasp their real meanings in the context of Middle East history and the particulars of the Arab conflict with Israel.
Before dealing with them, however, there were a few in U.S. President Donald Trump’s address which should be highlighted as they relate to what I discerned in Abdullah’s remarks.
First, Trump said:
The United States is committed to a future of peace and stability in the region, including peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. That aim is advanced, not harmed, by acknowledging the obvious facts.
What is obvious there is not only was no “two-state solution” mentioned, no “state of Palestine” was included. The Arabs of Palestine are simply … “Palestinians.” They are a group of people. Don’t think that minor. The United Nations has termed Jews simply as “Jewish Palestinians” in an attempt to erase our national identity.
Do they deserve a state? Do they require a state? Or can some other formulation of political collectivity be formed or applied to their reality?
Trump’s second remark was:
There is Israel, proudly celebrating its 70th anniversary as a thriving democracy in the Holy Land.
There is, according to Trump, and to his advisors, a “Holy Land.” Is Israel located fully within what that territory is? Or is there more land area? Where is that territory?
Keeping that in mind, let us return to Jordan’s King Abdullah who said:
Every U.N. resolution since the beginning of this crisis—every resolution, whether from the General Assembly or the Security Council—recognizes the equal rights of the Palestinian people to a future of peace, dignity and hope. This is the heart of the two-state settlement, the only path to a comprehensive, lasting peace.
At the outset, he befuddles the legal aspect in that there is quite a difference between decision of the General Assembly and the Security Council. For example, the famous partition plan of 1947 was apparently but a “proposal” that made a “recommendation.” It was not binding. And once rejected by the Arabs (the Zionists accepted it), it should have been called a dead letter seventy years ago. In fact, as I documented, the United States did think the plan was unworkable and should jettisoned in the summer of 1948.
Abdullah, after the confederation idea was floated, was adamant:
Only a two-state solution … can meet the needs of both sides
Only? Is not Jordan part of historic Palestine?
He then defines the two states
a viable, independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, and a secure Israel, fully part of its own region, recognised by Arab and Muslim states around the world.
By “on the 1967 borders,” does he mean Israel must fully withdraw from all territories it now administers as a result of Arab aggression, foremost—that of Jordan in 1967, as well as the PLO terror campaign begun in January 1965? All of the Old City of Jerusalem with its Jewish holy sites is to be ripped from Israel’s sovereignty?
And what does “fully part of its own region” mean? Israel? Palestine? Does Israel have a “region”?
He then seeks to blame Israel for an “endless cycle of violence” when he rhetorically asks:
How long must Jerusalem, a holy city to more than half the world’s people, face dangers to its multi-faith heritage and identity? How can we accept a status quo of continuing crisis and bigotry?
If he is referring to the discriminatory and unfair “status quo” that denies Jews rights to and within the Temple Mount (not to mention his father’s acts of desecration of tens of thousands of Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives prior to 1967), I would agree. But he is not. And with Jordan and other Arab states promoting resolutions of UNESCO denying Jewish history in Jerusalem, then he is accusing himself, quite properly I might add, of being a danger to multi-faith heritage and identity!
Abdullah is quite clear further on in his speech in excluding Jews from Jerusalem’s “Old City.”
Above all, we need to safeguard the heritage and peace of Jerusalem, a holy city to billions of people around the world. The Hashemite Custodianship of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem is a duty that Jordan is proud to carry, and we will counter any attempts to change the holy city’s historic Arab Christian and Muslim identity.
No Jewish identity or no mention, at least, of Israel becoming, as it were, a “custodian” of Jewish holy sites in the city.
Jordan’s king has presented, as in the past, a false description of history and of current political affairs. And on that basis, suggest “solutions” that can only weaken Israel’s security, its rightful legal and historical claims, in addition to its future needs.
This is a prime example of the invidiousness of the anti-Zionism that continues to lie at the root of anti-Israel maneuvers and diplomatic efforts in international forums. They must be confronted, exposed and countered.
Yisrael Medad is an American-born Israeli journalist and author.