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Letters: Why the Jordanian option won't work

October 13, 2013

Re "The two-stage option," Opinion, Oct. 11

Dani Dayan's two-stage solution relies on Jordan's cooperation with Israel to keep the Palestinians under control. However, the Jordanian government has repeatedly rejected this option since it withdrew from any serious role in the West Bank in 1988.

Some commentators have hinted that a kind of Palestinian-Jordanian confederation could take effect after Palestinian independence has been declared. But, to state the obvious, that would require that a Palestinian state were first established.

In short, for Dayan or anyone else who wants to engage Amman on the West Bank, the best way to do it is to create a Palestinian state, as the Obama administration is currently trying to do, in close cooperation with Jordan.

The administration has it right; Dayan, unfortunately, does not.

Steven L. Spiegel

Beverly Hills

The writer, a professor of history, is director of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development.

Dayan's argument for a two-stage solution rests on the dubious assumption that meaningful security and stability could ever be achieved without fulfilling Palestinians' aspirations for self-governance. There is no reason to believe this would be the case.

Dayan is also simply wrong to declare that the parties "will not benefit from radically changing the current reality." Without a two-state solution, Israel will become further isolated in the international community and its future as a Jewish and democratic state will be in jeopardy. Dayan may be prepared to maintain the status quo for decades, but by then there may be no Jewish state left to even consider his supposed Jordanian option.

The time is ripe for a long-term two-state solution. The opportunity shouldn't be missed by pursuing speculative alternatives.

Melvyn I. Weiss

Boca Raton, Fla.

The writer is a member of the executive committee of the Israel Policy Forum.


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