The head of Hamas has found it necessary to speak out against the rising movement to allow the Palestinian majority to replace the Hashemite monarchy with a
democratic regime that would become the Palestinian homeland. Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas, visited King Abdullah of Jordan on Jan 29 and made a special point ofsayingpublically:
"Hamas stands firm against Israel's schemes to turn Jordan into a substitute homeland. Jordan is Jordan
and Palestine is Palestine. We insist on restoring Palestinian rights,"
King Abdullah added his two cents:
"Jordan supports the Palestinian Authority as well as Palestinian reconciliation,
"Uniting the Palestinian stand will strengthen the Palestinian people and help restore their
Of course they were both referring specifically to theeffortsof Mudar Zahran to do just that, namely, "turn Jordan into a substitute homeland" for the Palestinians.
I am glad they went public with this issue. Zahran's plan and its opposition are now front page news.
Meshaal referred to it as "Israel's scheme" without any evidence in support. But that is to be
expected, because Hamas blames Israel for everything.
Israel, for its part, wants nothing to do with it. She wants the status quo and the Peace treaty with Jordan to remain.
Zahran, for his part, wants nothing to do with Israel. It would just prejudice his chances of success. Zahran is doing this for the Palestinians living in Jordan and
not for Israel.
"Interestingly enough, the King did not mention the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as a root cause of his
and his Kingdom's problems, an omission that comes as a sharp contradiction to what he said in some of his other recent interviews. In them, he blasted Israel for its lack of effort in the
peace process, attacked those in Israel (though never mentioning specific names) who relate to Jordan as the alternate Palestinian homeland -- the misguided Jordan-is-Palestine crowd of
extreme Israeli right-wingers -- and went as far as threatening to use his military to prevent it from happening.
"The rhetoric was harsh, and to many in Israel it seemed totally irrelevant, as the King knows full well
that the current Israeli government completely rejects the Jordan-is-Palestine outcry. It seemed that the King has decided to assume a new role -- that of the regional
pontificator-in-chief, particularly when it concerns Israel and its PM Benjamin Netanyahu. "
But there is nothing new here in that both Hamas and Abdullah don't want Jordan to become Palestine. This
would be so even if Zahran were not organizing his Jordanian Palestinians.
The idea that Israel is behind it, real or imagined, would fortify their efforts to prevent it though no
more fortifications are necessary.
If the Muslim Brotherhood really believed that they would win the elections, they would insist on them at a
time of their choosing. Their alliance with Abdullah would only be temporary. This supports Zahran's argument that the Muslim Brotherhood would not win the elections, the Palestinians
Israel's real concern is that Zahran's initiative may destabilize the peace treaty with Jordan. This
treaty was threatened by the King when Israel poisonedMeshaal in
1996 in Jordan,resultingin the King demanding from Israel the antidote on pain of ending the treaty.
Jordan is not stable now and is expected to be less stable if and when Assad falls. One cannot expect that
things will remain as they are. Either Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood will take over and kill the peace deal, as they are threatening to do in Egypt, or Zahran will succeed.
Certainly Israel has a stake in developments. It is for her to decide whether to be passive or