Reunification of the Arab populated areas of the West Bank with Jordan - as existed between 1948-1967 - has again emerged as the most viable solution to the Jewish-Arab conflict.
This follows revelations in the London- based Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper that Palestinian Authority (PA) President and PLO Chairman - Mahmoud Abbas - has asked senior Fatah leaders to prepare for the formation of a confederation between a Palestinian State and Jordan.
Abbas has reportedly instructed his advisors to provide him with detailed strategic reports about the best way to conduct negotiations with Jordan to revive the confederation plan - first discussed in 1988 under very different political circumstances to those now existing.
Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, has told the Jerusalem Post ("Abbas mulls forming confederation with Jordan" - December 13) that the confederation idea would be discussed with Jordan - but only after the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
PLO Executive Committee member Wasel Abu Yusef has also told the Jerusalem Post that any talk about the confederation plan now would hinder efforts to establish an independent Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines "because Israel is hoping that a Palestinian state would be part of Jordan."
The creation of such a state will not occur.
Jordan appears to have been positioning itself to replace the Palestinian Authority as Israel's negotiating partner - as indicated by the following recent events:
1. King Abdullah's uncle - Prince Hassan - stated in October that the West Bank was part of Jordan.
2. PLO heavyweight Farouk Kaddumi followed by pointing to the advantages that could follow Jordan's return to the West Bank.
3. The Jordanian Education Department produced a map in a text book not showing the West Bank as a separate territorial entity.
4. Prince Hassan gave a public address to the Board of Deputies of British Jews at a gala black tie affair in London seven days before Abbas took to the podium at the United Nations on 29 November.
Jordan's return to centre stage has been further strengthened by Abbas's decision to proceed with unilateral action to have the "State of Palestine" admitted as a non-observer State at the United Nations with its claim to sovereignty in 100% of the West Bank being recognised at the same time.
Abbas has already paid dearly for his precipitate action in abandoning negotiations with Israel and going it alone to the United Nations - unleashing the following consequences:
1. Hamas leader Khalid Meshaal defiantly opposing a Palestinian State being created anywhere but on the ashes of Israel.
2. Four hundred million dollars in taxation revenues collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority being withheld over the next four months to meet unpaid water and electricity bills owed by the PA to Israeli utility companies.
3. Israel announcing plans to revive building another 3000 housing units - kept on hold since 2004 to placate and induce the PA to continue negotiations with Israel
4. Abbas being forced to go cap in hand to Arab countries begging to be helped out to the tune of One hundred million dollars a month to stay afloat
Many of those 138 Nations that voted to admit the State of Palestine as a non-observer state must now be shaking their heads in amazement at the latest announcement by Abbas of a possible confederation of that state with Jordan once statehood has been achieved.
David Singer is an Australian Lawyer, a Foundation Member of the International Analyst Network and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organisation calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine. Previous articles written by him can be found at www.jordanispalestine.blogspot.com.