By Abdel Nasser Al-Najjar
Over the past few weeks, the Israeli media have published a series of articles which attempt to downplay the importance of Jordan’s role in the region, while inciting against the government and stability in the Hashemite Kingdom.
The media claim is that the Israeli right, led by settlers and with the help of US Christian evangelists, aims to weaken Jordan to facilitate Israel’s annexation of the occupied West Bank and eliminate the Palestinians. All insist that Jordan is more or less “Palestine” and rule out the idea of a one-state solution in the event that the occupied Palestinian territories are annexed, because it will be a racist state that will not allow a significant number of its citizens or residents the right to participate in government or the right to vote. This is also the view of the US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, who has said that the Palestinians in “Judea and Samaria” — what the rest of the world knows as the occupied West Bank — are just residents and not citizens.
The Israeli right wing has been calling clearly for even more Palestinians to be displaced. Right-wing writer Karni Eldad said in Macor Rishon on 5 January that after Israel’s annexation of “Judea and Samaria” (the West Bank), the Palestinians will have to choose between staying and being submissive, giving up any national aspirations; and being expelled if they want “terrorism” and a State of Palestine. What he refers to is obviously ethnic cleansing by any other name.
Right-wingers in Israel want a return to the 1940s when, they argue correctly, the self-declared Jewish state would not have been established in 1948 if it weren’t for the expulsion of the Palestinians. Such discussions have now become mainstream among Israel’s leaders, rabbis, party leaders and influential political and religious blocs.
For many on the racist settler-right, the so-called “alternative homeland” is the way out of the crisis; hence, the growing media campaign against Jordan. Questions are being asked about the “privileges” given to the Hashemite Kingdom in the occupied city of Jerusalem, especially its guardianship over Muslim and Christian holy places. Israel believes that this is no longer necessary. On this basis, there has been an escalation in Israeli attacks and provocation, as well as an accelerated effort to divide the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa physically and in terms of access, and a total disregard of condemnations by Palestinians and Jordan of such attacks. Israelis know that such criticism will not escalate beyond words.
In order for the right-wing settlers’ vision to be accomplished, Jordan must be weakened by creating chaos in the country and exploiting the difficult economic and social conditions. In other words, by trying to spark off a new, devastating “Arab spring” in the Kingdom. Jordan, say the Israelis, is an extension of the “residents” in the West Bank, because they do not recognize the existence of a Palestinian people.
The Israeli right and the Christian evangelists who helped Donald Trump to get to the White House – and on whom he is still counting if he is to be re-elected later this year – have united in their desire to control all of historic Palestine, albeit for contradictory religious reasons. The evangelists believe that the “return of the exiles” and Jewish control over Palestine will hasten the return of the Messiah and the “Rapture”, while the Jewish colonial settlers believe that the matter rests on fulfilling the concept of the Promised Land. Hence the alliance between far-right Jewish and Christian Zionists.
In the face of this, we in Palestine must stand firm and reformulate our positions regarding the occupation state. The Palestinian people cannot be uprooted; the Nakba cannot be repeated at any cost; and the Kingdom of Jordan belongs to the Jordanians while Palestine belongs to the Palestinians. We are brothers with a common fate, but the Palestinian cause will only be resolved in historic Palestine.
The Jordanians should pay attention to Israel’s conspiracies and attempts to exploit the difficult economic or social conditions in order to push through its odious plot. They must differentiate between the demands for solutions to difficult problems, and slipping unconsciously into an infernal scheme reflective of the farcical conditions across the Arab region in general.
What is reported in the Israeli media and is sought by racists puts before us more than another red line, so we must, as Jordanians and Palestinians, confront it for the benefit of our future generations. The preservation of a strong, viable Kingdom of Jordan is a Palestinian interest; and the preservation of Palestinian steadfastness is a Jordanian interest.
- Abdel Nasser Al-Najjar is a Palestinian journalist. His article appeared in MEMO.