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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Former Jordanian FM says annexation would kill two state solution

Former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher has played a key role in Jordan’s relations with Israel and the US.
Continue reading on The Jerusalem Post
Former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher warned Israel about annexation this week, arguing that any annexation of any size would kill the two-state solution. “We are less concerned about the timing of annexation, we are more concerned with an Israeli government that seems to think they can do annexation and preserve any semblance of peace which is totally false.”

Appearing Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT on Sunday the important Jordanian figure, who is vice-president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the diplomat noted that Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had not mentioned annexation up until last year. He asserted that most of Israel’s security establishment think annexation is bad for Israel from a security and political point of view.

Muasher has played a key role in Jordan’s relations with Israel and the US. He was the Kingdom’s first envoy to Israel after the 1994 peace agreement and was ambassador to the US in the key years 1997 to 2002. He then became foreign minister and deputy prime minister. He is clear in articulating the downsides of annexation in recent statements and discussions. “It will make things impossible for a two-state solution.” He also thinks annexation is detrimental to stability in the region. “I want to say that if a two-state solution becomes impossible…then the Palestinians will shift the paradigm and start to demand equal rights in the state they are living in.”

His statement notes that Palestinians calling for equal rights inside areas under Israel control are bolstered by them being the majority west of the Jordan. He even argued that Palestinians will soon be an even greater majority of some 60%, apparently including the population of Gaza as areas under Israel control. If Israel says not to a state and no to equal rights, it will mean apartheid, he said.

“There is not just a Palestinian plan but an Arab plan presented in 2002 called the Arab Peace initiative of 2002 when the Arabs offered peace and security with Israel by 22 Arab states. That obviously has been rejected by Israel.” He warned that the time for a two-state solution is closing and that a one-state reality is emerging. What kind of one-state reality do we want, he asked, musing on whether it would be a democracy or apartheid. Asked why Israel has dismissed the concerns of the international community, Muasher said Israel doesn’t care as long as the US stands behind Israel. “If Mr. Trump is not re-elected then we might see a different view from the US.” He said that Israel feels it can have the cake and eat it too. Muasher says annexation is the last nail in the coffin of the two state solution.

The Jordanian diplomat has been outspoken throughout the recent years of the White House pushing its “deal of the century.” He has warned that annexation could be an existential threat to Jordan, according to a June 2 piece at Al-Monitor. There are worries for Jordan-US relations and the peace agreement between Jordan and Israel. Iranian media has suggested Jordan become closer to Iran and Turkey, which both work together in the region against Israel. Jordan is usually a key ally of the Gulf monarchies. Muasher has argued for a tougher diplomatic response to the annexation plan. There is a growing feeling among some of those involved in the Jordanian peace process of the 1990s that they are haunted by it and Muashar believes the current plan by the White House is a “farce,” according to an interview with CNN. As recently as March 2018 Jordan was trying to salvage things, today the situation is less clear. However Israel appears to have walked back from annexation of the Jordan valley. TRT had asked Muasher if Jordan could take credit Israel stepping back from that step. He was noncommittal on that issue, asserting that the one state solution danger is the real concern.

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