Palestinians should demand their rights by taking over Jordan

Enass Musallam was attacked and stabbed for calling for justice for the Palestinians in Jordan. But her story speaks to something much bigger

Change is coming to Jordan - how big a part will the Palestinians play?
Ted Belman
On 27 February 2012 14:44

Enass Musallam is, or was, a typical college student one might find in any country, on any campus, studying to educate herself so that she could have a better life.

But she is more, as many students are. She is idealistic, principled and brave. She fights for the cause of human rights, freedom, equality and human dignity. She also fights for social justice.

But she differed from most such students on western campuses in that she was fighting for such rights in Jordan, which doesn't permit the exercise of free speech, if your slings and arrows are aimed at the prevailing regime.

Every time she did so she put her life on the line. She is fighting for her own people, the Palestinians living in Jordan. They are denied basic human rights, citizenship, equality, enfranchisement and freedom of speech. They are also discriminated against and harassed by King Abdullah of Jordan.

It takes courage to criticize the King or his regime. I described their condition and mistreatment in an article called ‘The Poor Palestinians’.

Her most recent "outrage" was that she called out Prince Hassan for “underestimating the minds and abilities of the Jordanian people”. What a crime; how dare she?

As a result she was attacked and stabbed multiple times in her stomach, narrowly missing her liver. Fortunately she is recovering. But that wasn't the unkindest cut of all.

Her honour and that of her family was besmirched by the Government which released a public statement advising: "This girl has been involved in an affair with a former boyfriend who wanted revenge when she dumped him”.

Her family denies she has ever had an affair, and insists that the attack was politically motivated. They just announced that they are suing the Public Security Department (PSD) for defamation.

In the Palestinian culture such an allegation is like the ultimate death sentence. It means that the girl now has a bad reputation in the eyes of Palestinians who accept it at face value. It suggests that her family is low-class and ill-mannered.

In other words, the Jordanian regime has attacked the untouchable with the Palestinians: their honour.

Many Israelis have asked me why I have shown so much sympathy for her when Palestinians showed no sympathy whatsoever for five members of the Fogel family, including two parents, two children and one baby who were brutally stabbed to death in their home last year, by two Palestinian murderers.

In fact these murderers were celebrated by Palestinians in general and the Palestinian Authority in particular.

I have no problem in doing so because Enass represented the antithesis of what these killers represent. She represents hope for the future and for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.

As I have absolutely no confidence that the Palestinian Authority and Israel will reach a peace agreement, I must look to an alternate paradigm for ending the conflict.

I might add that the Palestinians, whether living in Judea or Samaria or in Jordan, likewise, have no confidence whatsoever that there will ever be a peace agreement, let alone a right of return for Palestinians.

According to a US Embassy cable made public by Wikileaks, the Palestinians in Jordan have exhibited their firm belief that they will not be “returning to Palestine”.

The paradigm that both sides should be looking at is the one where the Jordanian Palestinians take over Jordan and invite all the Palestinians to come to live in Jordan and receive the rights and freedoms that Enass has been fighting for.

The Palestinian writer and academic Mudar Zahran is planning for such a future. As part of his vision, the Palestinian Jordan would have strong economic ties with Israel and would look to Israel to develop her oil, shale and uranium deposits, to supply her with much needed water through Israel’s desalination advances and to build alternate sources of power such as wind farms and solar farms.

It may even be possible to build an oil pipeline from Saudi Arabia through Jordan to Haifa for the benefit of all.

Furthermore this plan envisages millions of Jordanian refugees from all over the Mid East coming to settle in Jordan. This would require enormous investment from Israel and the West, thereby creating a booming economy for all old and new residents. A win-win all around.

So what are the odds of the Jordanian Palestinians taking over considering that King Abdullah, the Bedouins, the Muslim Brotherhood and the Government of Israel are against them, and have all the guns?

Change is coming to Jordan whether these groups like it or not. The Palestinians represent about 75 percent of the population and they are very angry and bitterly resent the brutal stabbing of Enass and the blatant attempt to besmirch her honour and in so doing the honour of all Palestinians.

They hate the King and the Muslim Brotherhood. They are oppressed and discriminated against.

Within months they will hit the streets knowing a blood bath will ensue. They are hoping that the Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon who are both armed will come to their aid.

Israel stands to lose or gain in the outcome of the revolt in Syria and the upcoming revolt in Jordan. Yet she has decided to sit this one out rather than to work to achieve the desired result.

Who’s minding the store?

Ted Belman is the publisher of Israpundit and an ex lawyer living in Jerusalem

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