There is no longer any doubt, even in the slightest degree, that Israel will not accept the establishment of a Palestinian state in accordance with UN resolutions, which is what Netanyahu recently declared as it has become clear like the sun which cannot be covered with a sieve. Consequently, Jordanian adherence to the peaceful settlement in the diplomatic discourse has become completely out of context and time. With it, it raises the question of the day after the collapse of the peace process and the end of betting on its results.
This question dominated important and closed discussions, which were held by the Politics and Society Institute in cooperation with the Palestinian Masarat Center (Amman 27-28 May 2023). A group of Palestinians from 1948 and 1967 territories and a selection of Jordanian political elite participated in the workshop (subject to the rules of confidentiality). First, in the question of what will happen after the peace process, and secondly in the Palestinian options, and third in the repercussions of that on Jordanian national security and the expected scenarios.
Then the Institute held a special workshop for the Jordanian political elite (Amman, June 2023), to discuss the same questions and the conclusions of the first workshop. It was clear from the two workshops together that there are serious realistic conclusions, not only in terms of the end of the settlement project and the absence of an Israeli partner but rather the dominance of the “deal of the century” approach over the US administration’s policies towards the Palestinian issue (even if President Biden’s administration did not officially adopt what the Trump administration presented). The extreme pessimism of the Palestinian elites was also clear about the possibility of Palestinian reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, and the feeling of the 1948 Palestinians that there is a strategic Israeli plan to get rid of them, to protect the “Jewishness of the state,” and finally the state of misery that the Palestinian Authority has become and the separation between it and the Palestinian national struggle project.
In conclusion, there did not appear to be realistic consensual Palestinian strategic options presented by the participants. The two-state solution is over, and the approach to rights and the one-state solution, although it helps in strengthening the Palestinian political discourse, especially in European and Western circles, is a scenario that plays on the same ground as the Israeli project, which makes it more influential (according to the Palestinian, Arab, and Jordanian elites who advocate for it).
However, those who demand it admit that it is a historical solution, not an immediate political one (in the sense that the outcome of matters will go towards these realistic conditions under Israel’s insistence on not establishing a Palestinian state), and some of them describe it as a “one-state situation.” As for the resistance, in its peaceful and armed forms, it has conditions, dynamics, and political levers that are not available in the current Palestinian situation.
Perhaps the minimum consensus advocated by the Palestinian and Jordanian elites is to work to support Palestinian solidarity on the ground and to build immunity for the Palestinians from the danger of transfer (displacement), which constitutes a threat to Jordanian national security on more than one level. The real challenge, according to most of the participants, is the ability to Steadfastness and adherence to the land, whether the 48th or the 67th, because the Israeli strategic option is represented by “transfer” and isolated cantons.
There is another analysis, by the way, presented by Ahmed Jamil Azm, a professor of political science at Qatar University (in a previous seminar at the Institute of Politics and Society), represented by the birth of new economic dynamics on the ground, its essence is economic, but its repercussions are political, social and cultural, and this is what he called the determination to privatize the occupation and its automation, through the large numbers of Palestinians who are now working not only in Israel, but even for Israeli companies, especially in the technology sector, which are the dynamics that implicitly serve the deal of the century and the regional normalization brought about by the Trump administration, and these concepts are still governing the policies of New management.
What is required from Jordan is that we free ourselves from the idea that we are dealing with the Palestinian Authority only, because the Authority is in its weakest legal and legitimacy point.
In light of this, what are the Jordanian strategic options? The current approach is concerned with diplomatic action and focusing on the two-state solution, and caring for the holy places in Al-Quds Al-Sharif, on the basis that the Jordanian role is secondary, and is represented by supporting the Palestinian Authority only, or retreating and taking a distance from the Palestinian file because of its great and high cost, whether in entering into a clash. With the Israelis and with Zionist influence, or following the “regional project” and economic normalization? Or move to a new, different approach and engage more with the Palestinian question, which we call Paradigm Shifting?
The three options are carried by Jordanian political elites, and are centered around an authoritative political discourse, its concepts, and its starting points in defining Jordanian-Palestinian relations, and in defining (or redefining) Jordanian national security regarding the Palestinian issue and the extent of its overlap and separation from Jordanian strategic considerations.
If we skip discussing the first three options and move towards the new approach, which represents a strategic entry point to what some call a Jordanian plan “B” for the day after the end of the peace process. This approach is based on a major theory, that geopolitics, historical facts, and social, political, and cultural realities all impose on Jordan a major and pivotal role in the Palestinian file, especially in the West Bank, and it is a role outside the context or framework that frightens many Jordanians and pushes towards it the Israeli right, and what is meant here is the option. Jordanian (returning to Jordanian intervention in the West Bank in demography, not geography), which is rejected by both Palestinians and Jordanians, popularly and officially. Rather, the intended role is to engage more with the Palestinian equation and abandon the Jordanian reservations in dealing with the Palestinian forces and the multiple personalities.
What is required from Jordan is that we liberate ourselves from the idea that we are dealing with the Palestinian Authority only, because the Authority is in its weakest legal and legal conditions. All of these hypotheses were previously invented to deal with coordinates that no longer exist politically. The issues of the West Bank, Jerusalem, borders, and the Palestinian situation touch the core of Jordanian national security, and Jordan must move to securely protect and promote its strategic and vital interests with the Palestinians.
Conflict management means that the Jordanian strategic bet on the peace process is no longer realistic
From this standpoint, a trend among the Jordanian elites pushed for presenting an approach based on acknowledgment and acknowledgment of the impossibility of a peaceful settlement and the continuation of the status quo, realizing the aims and symptoms of the Israeli project, from isolating the Palestinians within cantons and a failed authority, and the gradual elimination and possibly investing in dangerous crises to carry out the transfer process, and this and that. The Jordanian decision-making kitchen prompts a return to the “conflict management” approaches instead of the non-existent “solution”!
What does conflict management mean? It means that Jordan’s strategic bet on the peace process is no longer realistic (this does not contradict Jordan’s diplomatic commitment to the peaceful option and to United Nations resolutions). Secondly, it means moving towards a positive incursion into the Palestinian equation and opening up to the various forces, politically and socially, that accept the peace process and those that reject it, and to the personalities, and to open more serious and realistic channels with the various powers, and to get closer to the file of the Authority and the succession of Mahmoud Abbas, because it has a strong relationship with The Jordanian interests, and abandoning the permanent, unconvincing call for calm (the one that led to the Aqaba and Sharm el-Sheikh meetings), because it only serves the Israelis.
Returning to the concepts of conflict management is a transition to a real realistic approach in light of the failure of the peaceful settlement and not continuing to sell or buy illusions related to it, in the sense of recognizing reality first, then searching for practical strategic options that do not go towards radical scenarios, and also do not accept options that will lead, in At the end of the day, to solve the issue at the expense of the Jordanians and the Palestinians.