Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Growing Talk of Jordanian Role in Palestinian Affairs

NYT reported Inside a drab cellphone shop, set deep inside the sprawling Baqaa refugee camp on the outskirts of this city, Muhammad Khalil and his friends were as gloomy as the fluorescent lights that flickered on the ceiling. “Everything has been ruined for us — we’ve been fighting for 60 years and nothing is left,” Mr. Khalil said, speaking of the Palestinian cause.
I wonder if he will ever figure out that it was the big Arab countries that moved them out of their homes in the first place so they could try to destroy the newly formed Israel, and when they were defeated, could have easily resettled them in their own countries, instead forced them to live in refugee camps for 60 years.
Just weeks earlier, he might have been speaking enthusiastically to his friends here, in their usual hangout, about resistance, of fighting for his rights as a Palestinian and of one day returning to a Palestinian state.
Returning? There has never been a Palestinian state. They were always ruled by someone else, from Romans, to Babelonians, all they way to Ottomans and then Jordanians. And they never thought to ask for their own state, until Israel won the land in a war.
Last Wednesday, however, he spoke of what he saw as a less satisfying goal for the Palestinians here and one that raises concerns for many other Jordanians: Palestinian union with Jordan.
Jordanians are worried because they like peace with Israel, and they have forced these people to live in squaller for so long. The same is true of Gaza and Eqypt.
“It would be better if Jordan ran things in Palestine, if King Abdullah could take control of the West Bank,” Mr. Khalil said, as his friends nodded. “The issue would be over if Jordan just took control.”
But does Jordan want you.
Even a few months ago, talk of some kind of Palestinian union with Jordan would have sounded quaint or even conspiratorial, 40 years after Jordan lost control of the West Bank in the 1967 war and nearly two decades after King Abdullah’s father, King Hussein, formally ceded administrative control of the territory to the Palestinians.
To get rid of you.
But as the Palestinian territories have been engulfed in turmoil, with Gaza and the West Bank now divided economically and politically, as well as physically, talk of a less ambitious, but no less delicate, federation between Jordan and the West Bank has begun rippling through many Jordanian and Palestinian circles.

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