An Israeli proposal to set up a Palestinian state within the kingdom of Jordan has enraged Amman officials who asked for an explanation from Tel Aviv. Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser "Judeh summoned the Israeli ambassador today to inform him of Jordan's protest and absolute rejection of the proposal at the Knesset [Israeli parliament]," a foreign ministry statement said on Tuesday.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh
The controversial proposal reportedly suggested "creating two states on the two banks of the Jordan River, one for the Israelis and one for the Palestinians." Judeh demanded an official clarification from the Israeli government, reiterating his country's stance on the issue of a Palestinian homeland. Jordan "believes in establishing an independent and viable Palestinian state on Palestinian soil," stressed the minister, adding "This is a strategic Jordanian interest that comes in line with a two-state solution and the Arab peace initiative."
The idea of a Palestinian state within Jordan was floated by hawkish lawmaker Aryeh Eldad last week; it was debated in a Knesset meeting organized by the Likud party on alternatives to the US-backed two-state solution. The proposal envisages the annexation of parts of the West Bank occupied in the 1967 war and a handover of the rest to Jordan - which is among the very few Arab states with Israeli ties.
Jordan -- already home to nearly six million people of Palestinian origin -- has repeatedly rejected proposals for a controversial annexation of a half-occupied West Bank, citing fears that the addition of the 2.4 million Palestinians in the territory would seriously disturb the kingdom's population balance. Despite international criticism, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has so far failed to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state -- the core issue in all peace negotiations over the past 20 years.