Comments wanting more information about the possibility of a Jordanian-West Bank/ Egypt-Gaza merger sent me searching through the archives of the Good Neighbors Blog to unearth the opinion on the issue and the rationales behind it from Palestinian participants. Below is a re-post copied off GNblog from June 11, 2007 that pretty much sums it all up quite well:

I am a supporter of a future Palestinian-Jordanian confederation, I will tell you why :

I don’t believe that a Divorce took place between the two nations, what took place was a Separation and not due to a conflict but due to a changement in the geopolitical map. If palestinians wanted the Jordanian forces to leave the westbank in the early 70’s , it’s due to the defeat of the 1967 War… don’t forget black september that came a few years later! Anyways, why do i defend the confederation ?

It’s not a secret that Both Jordan and Palestine share a lot demographically, economically, socially and politically. It’s also not a secret that Jordan never totally cut it ties with the Palestinian people due to very clear interdependencies, Mostly economic! Now come to think of it, when King Hussein decided to give up on the westbank, it was a political decision in order to allow the PLO to finally have an authority and a kind of independence, but the idea was always that After the creation of the palestinian State, a jordanian-Palestinian union was inevitable! ( Check out the 7th chapter of the Jordanian Charter).

Geographically and Politically :

Both the West Bank and Gaza are very important : Gaza has Land borders with Egypt and has natural Gas as well as an opening on the Mediterranean sea ( i wouldn’t give this up) .

The Westbank is a different story : It has all the Water that Jordan lacks, it’s relatively greener than Jordan, touristically, it’s very important, Religiously, it holds a lot of meanings etc….
The most important part : Hundreds of thousands( if not more) in the westbank hold Also Jordanian Nationalities ( more commonly called the Yellow Cards). Strategically, if this union is created, the current jordanian regime will control both sides of the Jordan river ( very important) as well as a major part of the Dead Sea ( Tourism, Potassium, Salt….) and will have wider frontiers with israel etc…

Jordan and Israel already have a peace treaty, if a confederation is created, this peace treaty will surely become stronger and will give moderates a much bigger mandate to rule over this part of the world, The Hashemites will surely not be nice to Hamas and will be very close to Fatah , they both share a very important thing : Both accept israel’s presence and both have signed a Peace treaty with it, both are secular and both have the same enemies…

And now, lets face it, a Palestinian State is never going to be viable on the long run unless one of the countries around it “Adopt it”! Israel will never do so and we really don’t want it to, Egypt has no reasons to do it … The only side that has a huge interest in this ( and this interest is shared) is Jordan! I know both countries very well , most of the palestinians i talked to were not against the idea, they had some fears ( will the Army control us again ? …) but at the end, when i explained what a confederation meant, they Agreed warmly! …as for the Jordanians, they were much more welcoming from the very Highly educated to the Taxi driver, there was a huge ” YES” with a smile on their faces! I even talked to a Bedouin in Wadi Rum, he was like ” Yes, if we both respect each other , Yes, we are Brothers after all” ….

Now , What do i think personally :

I have no problem with being ruled by King Abdallah ! Why is that ? well, i find him Legitimate , his wife is Palestinian, so are his children, and in the future, the next king will most probably be Half Jordanian and Half Palestinian. King Abdallah , with his young age and his ” very little experience in the field ” managed to rule and to lead Jordan towards an international success story! So I really don’t have any problem with having him as a leader!

Economically : it will be a shared interest : who are amongst the Richest jordanians ? I will give you an answer : the Shomans ( Arab Bank) , The Masris ( Paltel, Palmedia, Paltrade, Movenpick)… ( and some others ..) Both happen to be also Palestinians and the Arab Bank never gave up his Palestinian Identity as for Al Masri , Munib al Masri who is a prominent palestinian political figure , was also a Jordanian Deputy before 1988. Take a drive in Amman and try to see who owns the biggest stores and hotels… most of them are palestinians!…Take a Taxi and open the subject with him, he will also happen to be a Palestinian! Now i will give you a few names of places and companies owned partially or fully by palestinians : Pharmacy One ( biggest pharmacy chain in Jordan , Like SuperPharm in israel) , Cozmo , Movenpick Aqaba and Dead Sea, Arab Bank, Intercontinental Hotel, Salad House, Whispers, Popeyes….
Millions of palestinians are Land Owners in Jordan too, eventhough a new Law prohibits palestinians from owning lands in the kingdom, most palestinians have lands somewhere in Jordan , around Amman most of the time…

And now, i personally believe that together we can achieve much more than each one alone on his side! the Westbank is nothing ( sizewise) compared to Jordan and most of it’s residents will easily be loyal to the regime as for the others, they will have no other choice than to adhere! while i might not be for a total union where Jordan controls us, i am for a confederation where everyone will have his Parliement and where everyone will have a certain extent of self rule, while we all share one currency, one economy, one Land, eventually One king, one language, one dialect, One army and why not, one bi national dream…. It seems to me that such a union is nothing but a step that will come ” when the time is right” and that whether we are with it or we oppose it , it will happen , because the Old ” one Nation one land ” idea is slowly disappearing on a worldwide scale…

See also this post where extracts from the Jordanian response to the Palestinian-led initiative are given:

70 prominent Palestinian professors, business leaders, and members of the legislative councils were invited last month to attend a meeting at the port of Aqaba, Jordan. The meeting was initiated by Ex-prime minister Dr. Majali; the main man behind the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, to discuss the dead peace process in the region and the future political relationship between the upcoming Palestinian state and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. The timing of this invitation was very interesting since it was almost 40 years ago that the West Bank and East Jerusalem, fell out of Jordanian hands into Israeli control in the course of the Six-Day War. Surprisingly the idea of a potential confederation between the West Bank and Jordan surfaced again when many members of the Palestinian delegation raised it with the King.

Check it out, very interesting.