December 13, 2018

Why the ‘Jordanian Option’ Won’t Die

“Since 1967, Israel hasn’t been able to identify a Palestinian leadership that can be trusted to keep the peace and maintain order. Likewise, Israel doesn’t really believe that a tiny Palestinian enclave trapped between Israel and Jordan could be economically viable. And so it has always hoped that Israel’s eventual separation from Palestinians will include a guarantee of — to put it bluntly — adult supervision.

The “Jordanian option” is much more mainstream than Israel publicly admits. Even Shimon Peres, the foreign minister who forged the Oslo accords with Yasir Arafat 25 years ago, did not believe that a stand-alone Palestinian state was a good idea, recounted Avi Gil, Mr. Peres’s longtime confidant, in a recent book. “He never abandoned the idea of a Jordanian-Palestinian confederation,” writes Mr. Gil. (Disclosure: I am the editor of Mr. Gil’s book, as well as Mr. Gelber’s.)

What exactly would this confederacy entail? There are many versions of this idea, but most suggest that the Palestinians get something that is less than a fully independent state, while Israel gets a partner that is more than an unreliable Palestinian neighbor. To achieve this, Jordan takes over some parts of the West Bank, keeps its role as guardian of the Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, and becomes the political and economic center of gravity for Palestinians who live on both sides of the Jordan River. The Palestinians will be the citizens of a confederated Palestine, or Jordan.

The Jordanians oppose the idea of confederation, and so few Israeli leaders are willing to publicly promote it. But from time to time their true colors show. A decade ago, Gen. Giora Eiland, Israel’s national security adviser in the early 2000s under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, wrote several influential articles in which he preached a return to the “the Jordanian confederation option of years past.” Ayelet Shaked, an influential minister from the right-wing Jewish Home party, has likewise envisioned a future in which parts of the West Bank would be linked to Jordan. A few days ago, Gideon Saar, a former minister and a powerful figure in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, spoke about the possibility of a “link in the future between an Arab autonomy in Judea and Samaria and the Kingdom of Jordan.” ”

Read more

JJ Best Of The Web

"Like many Western analyses of the Middle East, they reduce Iraq’s complex internal conflicts to catchall explainers of ‘sectarianism’ and ‘tribalism’ – presuming that some groups of people are intrinsically primed for antagonism."

" he's a loser in the precise sense that his singular accomplishment in American public life has been to lose a Senate race to the stupendously unpopular Republican Ted Cruz."

"While applauding the social impetus, Israelis are divided in opinions on an American-based initiative and question its grammatical integrity."

A look at the networks that churn out nonstop, formulaic Christmas movies; the actors who star in all of them; and the fans who can't stop watching.

"The Department of Homeland Security wants to use credit scores to determine immigration cases. That sets a dangerous precedent."

"Traffic. Congestion. Pollution. Hours-long commutes. What if you could leave it all behind and trade it in for an environmentally friendly and energy-efficient personal copter—all without a pilot’s license?"

"“But Qutb saw something else. The dancers in front of him were tragic lost souls. They believed they were free, but in reality they were trapped by their own selfish and greedy desires.”"

Cliches can be used as a political tool. "Prefabricated language helps everybody from prime ministers to CEOs disguise what they really want to say."

"Santa is nothing but stress for families who don’t believe in him. Trying to keep other kids from finding out the truth can cause a holiday-season-long headache."

"Umami is hard to describe in words. In the New Yorker, Hannah Goldfield defines it as “that deep, dark, meaty intensity that distinguishes seared beef, soy sauce, ripe tomato, Parmesan cheese, anchovies, and mushrooms..."

"The designer babies have thus been called the “future-we-should-not-want” for each new reproductive technology or intervention. But the babies never came and are nowhere close. I am not surprised."

"Thousands of secular Israelis became newly observant and joined Haredi communities in the 1970s and ’80s. Now, their children and grandchildren are searching for a place of their own."