Marc Lynch accurately dismisses John Bolton’s ridiculous proposal for the “Three-State Solution” (i.e. Egypt takes over Gaza and Jordan takes over the West Bank) as a “zombie idea”. One has to wonder Bolton’s strange power to alienate everyone in the world except for the op-ed page editors of major American newspapers: two sub-zero stupid op-eds in one week.
But here’s a funny thing: it’s quite possible that in a few decades, Jordan and the West Bank will become a unified state. Here’s why I think so.
1) Jordan’s Queen, the fabulous Rania, is a Palestinian; she was born in Jenin. (Update: Must. Have. Coffee. Rania was born in Kuwait, to Palestinian parents from Tulkarm. The point still applies, but we all have to work from the same facts, of course.)
2) That means that the heir to the Hashemite throne, Prince Hussein, is, in some sense, a Palestinian. (Readers with familiarity about how lineages in Jordanian/Palestinian culture are traced and acknowledged are invited to write in and explain how this might work, or whether I am operating from a wrong assumption: in Judaism of course, you become Jewish through your mother, although before the Common Era it was just the opposite).
3) So when Hussein becomes King Hussein II, he can legitimately claim to be King of Jordan but also a Palestinian.
4) Meanwhile, over in the West Bank, it’s pretty obvious that even if (as I hope) the occupation ends and the Palestinian state gets 100% of the territories (subject to agreed-upon 1-to-1 border modifications), and Gaza, that’s not really a state: that’s a statelet.
5) Moreover, something close to 2/3 of the Jordanian population is Palestinian, and some Palestinians have held Cabinet positions in Jordan. Unlike every other Arab ruler, Jordan King Abdullah I (great-grandfather of the current king) welcomed Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war and gave them Jordanian citizenship. (In light of this, why the Hashemites are often seen as betrayers of the Palestinian cause is an exercise left to the reader.)
6) A smart Palestinian Prime Minister would probably, then, encourage peaceful agitation in Jordan for greater democracy — which, if there is an Israeli-Palestinian deal, will be more difficult to suppress. I could see many on both sides of the Jordan as pushing for greater economic integration in any event: integration with Israel will also occur, but many Palestinians might be wary of such an arrangement because they will necessarily be disadvantaged in such a scenario.
7) And if the Palestinian Prime Minister is really smart, it might behoove him and King Hussein II to become more integrated politically as well. The PM would give the Hashemite throne more political legitimacy, and the addition of Jordan would turn the Palestinian state into a real state with reall territory. Maybe the PM would be the Prime Minister of both countries.
8) So then you’d get something like a Jordanian-Palestinian confederated kingdom, which could be a sort of constitutional monarchy with more extensive royal executive powers.
This, of course, is a far cry from what Bolton is talking about. It depends upon a real final status agreement with Israel, and — importantly — it also depends upon other Arab state and Iran failing in what will be their attempts to interfere with such an arrangement. And they will attempt to interfere with it. Arab mistrust of the Hashemites has been high, at least historically: Abdullah I, the “Falcon in a Canary’s Cage,” was consistently blocked by other leaders in his amibitions. But still, it could happen.