Hani Hazaimeh
The Jordan Times
June 30, 2011 - 12:00am

AMMAN - Jordan is committed to the Arab consensus supporting the Palestinian leadership’s pursuit of recognition of a state by the UN General Assembly if Israel continues to reject relevant international resolutions, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Judeh said on Thursday.

Judeh reaffirmed Jordan’s continued support for the Palestinians in their efforts to establish their own independent state on the national Palestinian soil with East Jerusalem as its capital, on the basis of the two-state solution.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian leadership said that Jordan and Palestine are reading on the same page regarding the issue and coordination between the two sides is ongoing.

For Jordan, this issue represents a higher national interest related to final status resolution, Judeh said, confirming that

There are ongoing coordination between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority on all bilateral levels, and within the framework of Arab consensus.

Jordan and the Palestinian leadership believe the optimal means to achieve this goal is through direct negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis, within a specific time frame and in accordance with international resolutions, and the Arab Peace Initiative, in particular, he added.

Nemer Hammad, political adviser of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas noted in a phone interview with The Jordan Times that Jordan is a member of the Arab League’s Follow-up Committee and stamped the bid.

“There is no disagreement between the two sides on the issue, and coordination is continuing at the highest levels,” he said.

Hammad revealed that the Palestinian leadership is preparing the draft resolution that will be presented to the UN General Assembly. The resolution, he explained, seeks to ensure that East Jerusalem is the capital of the future Palestinian state and a peaceful settlement to the refugees issue in accordance with UN Security Council resolutions 242, 194 and 338. The fourth element in the proposed resolution will be that the national state should be established within 1967 borders.

However, Hammad underlined that the Palestinian leadership will not go to the UN if Israel agrees to the French initiative which calls for setting a timeline for the negotiations, land swap, a freeze on Israeli settlement construction and the establishment of a Palestinian state.

“The Palestinian leadership agreed to the initiative. Surprisingly [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu did not reject the plan but asked for time to study it,” the Palestinian official said.

He added that the international Quartet [US, UN, Russia and the EU] meeting today in the US is critical “because it comes four days before the Palestinians head for the UN”.

“If the meeting comes up with an acceptable formula to return to talks, we will not go to the UN,” he said.

Commenting on the Palestinians’ UN bid, international relations professor Walid Abdulhay told The Jordan Times that recognition of a Palestinian state “could undermine Jordan’s pursuit of addressing the refugee problem”.

“The [Jordanian] government has always insisted on the right of return and compensation… Jordan has been offering support to the Palestinian refugees and insists that [it] has sustained a huge burden because of the displacement of the Palestinian refugees into its territories; thus, it is entitled to compensation,” he said.

Abdulhay said the “borders issue” also complicates the situation.

“The Israelis [insist] on having military presence alongside the borders with [Jordan], and this issue is rejected by both the Jordanians and Palestinians as it would be in violation of the future Palestinian state’s sovereignty,” he explained.

“Seeking recognition of a Palestinian state based on the 1967 border would create a problem with respect to land swap deals that had been discussed between the Palestinians and the Israelis over lands upon which the largely populated settlements are constructed,” Abdulhay told The Jordan Times in an e-mail interview.

He added that the “Jordanian historic role in Jerusalem with respect to the holy places” is yet to be identified in the future Palestinian state.

But Marwan Muasher, vice president for studies at the US-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told The Jordan Times that the Palestinian plan to seek UN recognition could be a “game changer” for the Mideast peace process.

“In the absence of any serious negotiations, with Israel’s refusal to stop settlements and seriously engage [in negotiations], the peace process needs a game changer. I believe this move can potentially be such a game changer,” the former foreign minister said.

Muasher did not expect the “Palestinian street to remain quiet” after the UN vote, “no matter what the outcome is”.

“If the Palestinians can mount peaceful demonstrations, and keep them peaceful no matter what Israel’s response is, they will force all the parties to reengage seriously. Israel will not be able to ignore such a movement, and nor can the United States,” he said.


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