The Jordan Times
September 24, 2008 - 8:00pm

Over two-thirds of Palestinians living in the occupied territories reject any type of union with Jordan, according to a poll released earlier this week.

According to the survey, released by Al Najah University Centre for Opinion Polls and Survey Studies on Monday, 66.8 per cent of Palestinians rejected the proposal, with 32.8 per cent saying they ?strongly reject? a union between the Palestinian territories and the Kingdom, the so-called ?Jordan option?.

Over 70 per cent of Palestinians in the West Bank opposed unity with Jordan, compared to 60 per cent in Gaza, according to the report from the Nablus-based centre.

Meanwhile, 27.6 per cent of polled Palestinians said they supported unification with Jordan, with approximately 30 per cent of Gazans and 26.3 per cent of Palestinians living in the West Bank in favour of the proposal.

Approximately 5.1 per cent of those in the West Bank ?strongly supported? unity with Jordan, compared to 17.2 per cent in Gaza, while 5.1 per cent had no opinion or knew too little to respond to the ?media-proposed union?.

Also according to the study, 67.1 per cent of respondents supported the creation of a Palestinian state on the 1967 occupied Palestinian territories while 41.7 per cent supported dissolving the Palestinian Authority.

The centre?s director, Hussein Ahmad, warned not to overanalyse the number of Palestinians who responded in favour of a union with Jordan.

?Around one-fourth did express their support, but over two-thirds rejected the proposal,? Ahmad told The Jordan Times in a phone interview yesterday, noting with a 2.7 per cent margin of error, there is a ?marginal difference? between those in support of the Jordan option in the West Bank and Gaza.

Ahmad attributed the widespread rejection of the ?Jordan option? in the occupied territories to Palestinian concerns over their rights.

?There is a sense that discussions of the ?Jordan option? may threaten current negotiations and prevent Palestinians from receiving their full rights,? he said.

Approximately 1,380 Palestinians between the ages of 18 and 72 took part in the poll between September 18-20; 860 in the West Bank and 500 in the Gaza Strip, Ahmad added.

Jordan has been clear in rejecting such a union, pushing instead for an independent and viable Palestinian state on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

"Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine,? His Majesty King Abdullah said in July in response to media reports of a rumoured unity between the Palestinian territories and the Kingdom, stressing that such a scenario has been rejected by both the Jordanians and Palestinians.

Although there have not been extensive public opinion polls of the Jordan option since the mid-1990s, Jordanians across the board have not been receptive to any union prior to a Palestinian state, according to Fares Braizat, political analyst and deputy director at the Centre for Strategic Studies at the University of Jordan.

?Jordanians in general have made it quite clear that any engagement with the West Bank or Gaza would have to be done if at all after a Palestinian state is in place,? Braizat told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Braizat added that if Jordan moved towards a unification with the West Bank before Palestinians are recognised and given full rights, it would be seen as filling a ?security gap?.

?If any type of discussion of a Jordan option takes place before a negotiated settlement between the Palestinians and Israelis, Jordan would be seen as jumping in, which politically speaking is very dangerous,? he said, noting that Al Najah poll is ?sound? and most likely accurately reflects sentiments in the occupied territories.

Jordan was united with the West Bank from 1950 until the 1967 war, when the territory along with east Jerusalem was occupied by Israeli forces.

Under His Majesty the late King Hussein, Jordan severed all administrative ties to the West Bank in 1988, maintaining only its position as custodian of the holy places in east Jerusalem.


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