…for a second there I thought Abdullah II was finished. Good thing he started the bullshit in the last few paragraphs. Being an agent of Israel does not go well on his resume. Time will tell, but if the Hashemites are as close to Israel as Goldberg is claiming then we can expect the King to see his end like Mubarak.
(Carl) So much for all those Leftists who believe that King Abdullah hates Binyamin Netanyahu and would gladly see Israel replaced by a ‘Palestinian state.’ The King is much smarter than all that, reports Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).
Israel, in some ways, is Jordan’s most important ally. As the guarantor of quiet on Israel’s eastern front, and as the defender of the peace treaty that King Hussein forged with Yitzhak Rabin in 1994, Abdullah’s Jordan is essential to the Israelis. Jordan and Israel are also working together to prevent the chaos of Syria from spilling into their countries. The king would not talk about joint Jordanian-Israeli operations, but several sources in Amman and Tel Aviv told me that Israeli drones are monitoring the Jordan-Syria border on Jordan’s behalf, and that military and intelligence officials from the two countries are in constant contact, planning for post–Bashar al‑Assad chaos.
Even as Abdullah envisions ceding more of his power, he draws one red line: “I don’t want a government to come in and say, ‘We repudiate the peace treaty with Israel.’ ” He is cautious when speaking about the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom he is reportedly in regular communication. He would say only that his relationship with Netanyahu is “very strong. Our discussions have really improved.”
Abdullah says he is pessimistic about Israel’s future.
Though he acknowledges the role Netanyahu plays in maintaining Jordanian stability, he is not optimistic about Israel’s future. King Abdullah is known as an advocate of two states for two peoples—Israel secure in its pre-1967 borders, Palestine to be established in Gaza and the West Bank—but when I asked him in January how much time he thought was left to implement this idea, his answer surprised me. “It could be too late already for the two-state solution,” he said. “I don’t know. Part of me is worried that is already past us.”
If it were too late, what would that mean?
He responded with a single word: “Isratine.” That’s a neologism popularized by the late Muammar Qaddafi to describe his vision of a joint Arab-Jewish state. If Israel doesn’t agree to a Palestinian state quickly, Abdullah said, “apartheid or democracy” will be its choice. “The practical question is, can Israel exert permanent control over Palestinians who are disenfranchised ad infinitum, or does it eventually become a South Africa, which couldn’t survive as a pariah state?”
There are some Israelis, I said, who value Israel more as a Jewish state than as a democratic state. “The only way you’re going to have a Jewish part is if you have a two-state solution. That’s the Jewish part,” he said.
Abdullah is smart enough to understand that Israel’s continued existence is the only thing that ensures that his country will not be overrun by its ‘Palestinians.’ Given that is the case, one has to wonder why Abdullah does not do more to bring about the conditions for a ‘settlement.’ For example, he could make the ‘Palestinian refugees’ in Jordan citizens of his country rather than holding them for a ‘right of return’ that he knows will never happen.
I have the impression from reading Goldberg’s piece that perhaps Abdullah would like to do just that but is prevented from doing so by the Bedouin tribes on whom he is dependent to maintain his power. In any event, a ‘two-state solution’ and the ‘right of return’ which would demographically extinguish Israel don’t go together. Abdullah is smart enough to understand that.
I wonder whether he’s discussed this with Netanyahu, or perhaps their discussions have been limited to other areas of mutual interest like Syria and Iran.