Thursday, January 29, 2009


So now I am looking at an outline of just what I think Israel might, under the right conditions, really give for peace.   (A repeat of the map is posted just below this entry.)

Yes I think Israel would give this land for peace.  But to whom?  At this point certainly not either government of the West Bank or Gaza.  Then what is the point?

The point, to me, is that all of the population of the West Bank and Gaza represent just @35% of all Palestinians.  Any long term peace initiative is going to have to include the other 65% or nothing is going to really work anyway.

So now we are back to Sudoku.  (If seven goes there in this quadrant, then seven has to go there in that quadrant.)  If Israel is willing to give up a certain amount of land never before considered as a solution, and it is not any current Palestinian government, whom then should they give it too?

The only two possibilities are of course Egypt and Jordan.  They are the only two countries contiguous to the proposed land.   If all things were equal this would be a toss up between either country.  Both have long histories to the area and the conflict.  Both are at peace with Israel.  

But I go back to the core principle of the Sulha 35 idea.  What would make a Palestinian pack up and move from where they are now.  Currently neither Jordan nor Egypt are really primed to be opening their borders to perhaps millions of people.  

But in all reality it would be Jordan that would be easiest to make "Palestinian friendly".  Foremost almost 30% of all Palestinians worldwide already live in Jordan.  This is by far the highest number outside of Palestine itself.

Now all we need to think about is how best to quickly enhance both Jordan's desire to welcome new neighbors and how to make Jordan want to be the destination of millions of Palestinians.

For this we go back in history to Jordan's very height of wealth.   The age of the Nabateans and Petra.  It was the trade center between North, South, East and West.  If Israel's gift to Jordan is as envisioned, that entire quadrant of trade and travel corridors opens once again.

As a center between North Africa and the Middle East I could also envision a Military arm of perhaps the Arab League wanting a naval base of some sort to combat piracy in the Indian ocean and for protection in the Mediterranean.  Also troops trained and stationed for rapid response to natural disasters such as earthquakes could also take advantage of the central location.

But what would really open up and provide perhaps thousands of jobs very quickly is to build a series of railroads running from perhaps Suez down towards Eilat/Aqaba - Duba - Jeddah - Mecca and the rebuilding of a Damascus - Ammon - Tabuk - Medina - Mecca rail as well.  

The Sulha 35 Plan also is based upon everyone in the area giving to Jordan what it can most afford to give, not only at this time, but at any time and that is land.  Land with quick economical value.  Land that means more to a New Jordan that to any of the present owners of such land.

In the beginning it centered on a Saudi/Jordan land swap.   Although this has been done before on a much smaller scale,  for Saudi Arabia to trade the land just directly south of Jordan for land in the desert would be of quick short term value to Jordan and have much longer term value for both Jordan and  Saudi Arabia.  

Jordan seems to be much more geared to take advantage of Gulf of Aqaba strengths than Saudi Arabia.  That entire region is much more on the radar of the Jordanian government for possibilities while to Saudi Arabia it is the far northern outpost.

Then again trading for land in the desert would give Saudi Arabia direct contact with Syria and a part of the Mediterranean to southern Iraq trade routes.  A military presence by the Saudi's further north in the New Saudi Arabia would be a great check on Syrian/Iranian presence in the area.

With a combined military/naval/air station center on the lower part of a New Jordan, that would be a major employer for the new region.  Perhaps at or near Aynunah Bay.

Next you have the combined Haql, Aqaba, Eilat, Taba ring city.  Use the Aqaba airport for all commercial flights to the area, let the Taba airport become again either a military airbase or even better a regional air cargo transhipment center.  The Eilat airport can be transfixed into a shopping center, higher education campus or a museum campus of various forms.

The synergies created by 4 cities and three borders becoming 4 cities in one country cannot be overlooked.  

 On an ecological note, it might also be pointed out that the potential for wind or solar generation in the extended Jordan, while lowering transmission distances to major population centers is also a possibility.   

But then again, to be discussed further later, the options for bringing desalinated water from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan Valley becomes a much more viable option that the currently proposed Gulf of Aqaba to the Dead Sea project which might have untoward repercussions on the balance of the water in the Gulf.

So it can be said that a there is a great possibility for economic expansion in Southern Jordan, Israel and the Sinai of Egypt by the addition of a small corner of Northwest Saudi Arabia being traded to Jordan.  This expansion is all the more probable if indeed Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Israel and Egypt recognize the dynamic power of removing the political and economic boundary from around the Taba, Eilat, Aqaba, and Haql city ring.

It must also at this point be noted that, if indeed, Israel were to voluntarily relinquish sovereignty over much of south Israel to Jordan, that at this point it is really time to rename Jordan as "THE HASHEMITE KINGDOM OF GREATER PALESTINE".

Indeed "Jordan" or more precisely "Transjordan" was created in 1921 by the British.  Before that all of the territory was a part of a governate of Syria in the Ottoman Empire.

If there is indeed to be meaningful peace going forward the transformation to The Hashemite Kingdom of Greater Palestine is to be a big step.  And with the land and such a huge population of Palestinians already within their borders, Jordan has as much right to change to Greater Palestine as say East Palestine or New Palestine.

I also cannot stress how much just expanding the basic framework of the current Jordanian Royal House and Jordanian laws and government to include newly acquired territories and peoples of a permanent and welcoming nature would give any transformation of that area much greater stability and legitimacy.

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