It was widely reported in Israel and the Palestinian media this week that US President Donald Trump's Middle East peace plan involves a possible confederation between the neighboring Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and the Palestinian Authority.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas surprised many by warming to the idea, so long as the confederation includes Israel, according to the left-wing organization Peace Now, which met with the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah on Sunday.
But Jordan was adamantly opposed to the idea.
"Discussing the idea of a confederation with the regions of the West Bank is not possible," insisted Jumana Ghneimat, a spokeswoman for King Abdullah II, in remarks to Jordanian media.
A confederation between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority could actually line up rather neatly with long-standing Israeli proposals for a one-state solution that would see the so-called "West Bank" (biblical Judea and Samaria) remain under Israeli security control while the Palestinian Arabs living there exercised their political rights via Jordan.
But such a scheme terrifies Jordan's Hashemite rulers, who are a minority in their own country. Upwards of 60 percent of Jordan's current population are Palestinian Arabs. The Hashemites are Bedouins originally from the area of Mecca in Saudi Arabia who were granted rule of then-Transjordan by the British government.
To add the current Palestinian population of the West Bank to that of Jordan would very likely lead to the eventual downfall (whether via elections or revolution) of the ruling Hashemite minority.
Thus the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, which from 1948-1967 occupied and annexed the West Bank, today rejects any direct political ties to the territory.
PHOTO: Jordan's King Abdullah II meets with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas last year in Ramallah. (Flash90)