Jared Kushner, President Trump’s special envoy for the Middle East, recently told 100 foreign diplomats in the Blair House, that the Plan sometimes referred to as the Deal of the Century will be rolled out after the new Israeli government is sworn in and following the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which ends June 5.
But will it?
Many dates have been suggested over the last year or so for tabling the plan, but time and again they have been postponed for one reason or another.
Similarly, there have been many conflicting reports detailing the plan, ranging from creating a new Palestinian state on 90% of the West Bank to not creating a new state at all.
Daniel Pipes in his recent article, Anticipating Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ , wrote,
A stream of leaks, however, contains enough internal consistency that their collation, supplemented by conversations with administration officials, provides a plausible outline of the plan’s contents.
These suggest the plan boils down to a grand exchange: The Arab states recognize Israel and Israel recognizes Palestine, both with capital cities in Jerusalem.
After setting out the probable details of the plan he concludes that it will fail. He is not alone in saying so. Virtually all commentators do likewise. In effect, they are saying that Trump is naïve or stupid to think otherwise. Their forecasts are all based on their understanding that Trump is merely putting lipstick on a pig, the pig being what has been proposed before with new variations.
Everyone is selling Trump short. Surely, he knows that such a pig won’t fly. So, he must be thinking of an entirely out of the box solution.
The Beirut-based newspaper Al-Akhbar two weeks ago published a report which made no mention of a Palestinian state but did say the plan involves the emigration of one million Palestinians to Jordan and regional co-operation and financing. As such it is out of the box thinking. It is Trump’s intention to look to the Palestinians for consent rather than the Palestinian Authority (PA). But his suggested plan will require the approval of King Abdullah of Jordan, who is adamantly against it. Thus, even this plan will end in failure.
It is for this reason I do not believe that it will be tabled in June as Kushner suggests, unless the circumstances change.
Mudar Zahran, Sec Gen of the Jordan Opposition Coalition, and I have been promoting the Jordan Option for ten years now, which is premised on the belief that both Abbas and King Abdullah will never accept a plan acceptable to Israel. Thus, I argued that Abbas and the PA must be marginalized and Abdullah must abdicate and be replaced by Mudar Zahran, a Palestinian, as leader. With the election of Pres Trump we went into high gear.
The Jordan Option is a two-state solution in which Jordan is the Palestinian State and Israel the Jewish state with the Jordan River the border separating them. All Palestinians will be given Jordanian citizenship and be invited to emigrate to Jordan. According to this plan, the PA will wither away and Jordan will replace it as administrator of Area A in Israel.
It is fair to ask, "What difference will this make?"
We will wake up to see a new ruler in Jordan who will base all his policies vis-a-vis Israel on co-operation, not confrontation.
Zahran will accept that plan once it is tabled whereas the king won’t. The PA, the Muslim Brotherhood, Iran and the EU will do their utmost to prevent this from happening, but they will be powerless to stop it.
Zahran will grant citizenship to all Palestinians and will invite them to return to Jordan for social security, healthcare and education. As a result, Israel will have no obligation to offer them a path to citizenship, should Israel annex the land on which they live.
President Trump will continue to cut off funds to the PA and United Nations Relief and Works Admininistration (UNWRA) as he has been doing. He will also continue to undermine the antisemitic UN entities such as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and UNESCO. He has already neutered the Inyternational Criminal Court. Trump will also redefine who constitutes a refugee entitled to UNRWA services, thereby greatly reducing their number.
The Palestinians in Judea and Samaria will then have choices: confront or cooperate; and the PA or Jordan. They will openly resist the PA, which is becoming irrelevant. Hamas will try to take over, but they will be roundly defeated. Within about two years, Jordan will replace the PA as the administrator of Area A as defined by the Oslo Accords.
Throughout this period of time, Israel and Jordan will provide financial inducements to the Palestinians to emigrate to Jordan or elsewhere. Israel will begin extending her sovereignty to the Jordan River and will build like crazy in Area C.
The end result is that we will have two states, Jordan, i.e., the Palestinian State, and Israel, the Jewish State, both of whom have signed a Peace Treaty recognizing the Jordan River as the separating border. It will signal the end of the peace process, not the beginning of a new one.
With these facts on the ground, there will be no need for the Deal of the Century. I suspect that just as Trump has proceeded over the last 2 years with pro-Israel policies, he will enable the cooperation between Jordan and Israel to succeed and prosper and encourage Palestinian emigration without the necessity of tabling a Plan.
Ultimately, Israel and Jordan will cooperate in defeating Hamas in Gaza. Israel will not have to occupy it, Jordan will. Gaza will become another area A administered by Jordan.
Last October Trump said the plan when tabled will have semi-agreement. I commented on it in The Jordanian Option is the only game in town.
After meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, he said “I like the two state solution.” and added, to everyone’s astonishment, “I want a plan that’s solid, understood by both sides, really semi-agreed by both sides before we present. I would say two-three-four months.”
Given the total rejection of his ideas by Abdullah and Abbas, how can he expect to have semi agreement within “two-three-four months”?
The only answer to that question is that he does not expect to have a semi agreement with either of them. He expects that Mudar Zahran will replace Abdullah, and knows, based on my writings and Zahran’s speeches and interviews, that he would have Zahran’s agreement on behalf of all Palestinians to his Plan. Eighty-three year old Abbas is irrelevant.
As a result, I firmly believe that Zahran will take power before the plan is tabled. The plan then will simply endorse the reality and provide for economic assistance to Jordan to facility Arab emigration to Jordan.