Jordan: Jordanians, Palestinians & the Hashemite Kingdom in the Middle East Peace Process

Article excerpt

Jordanians, Palestinians & The Hashemite Kingdom in the Middle East Peace Process, by Adnan Abu-Odeh. Washington, DC: United States Institute of Peace Press, 1999. xviii + 282 pages. Notes to p. 294. Index to p. 322. n.p.

Jordanian-Palestinian relations have been the subject of intensive research that has yielded numerous publications. Yet, the issue of intramural relations in Jordan between citizens of Transjordanian and of Palestinian origin has received comparatively little attention, even though this is among the most sensitive subjects in contemporary Jordan and one that is likely to have a crucial impact on the future of the country's civic society.

Adnan Abu-Odeh is one of the most qualified persons to guide the readers through the trials and tribulations of the origins and the historical and current ramifications of this subject. He is a native of Nablus, whose career has been a telling instance of a "success story" of Palestinian integration into the Jordanian establishment. An officer with the rank of major in Jordan's security services, Abu-Odeh was appointed Minister of Information in the September 1970 military government. He also served as Jordan's Permanent Representative at the United Nations, Chief of the Royal Court, and political adviser to two kings, Hussein and `Abdallah II. Abu-Odeh has also been a visiting fellow at some of the most prestigious academic institutions in the United States. He makes no secret of his admiration of the Hashemite royal family, which he considers the "enduring guarantee of national unity in Jordan" (p. 279). He does not hesitate to criticize it either.

This book analyzes the emergence and consolidation of separate Palestinian and Jordanian nationalisms, their conjuncture and collision as a result of King `Abdallah's territorial ambitions, and their love-hate relationship that has existed between them since the incorporation of the West Bank into Jordan. It also focuses on the process of Palestinian integration into Jordan, and on the impact of the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and of the June 1967 war on this process. The war, according to Abu-Odeh, removed the triangular interaction of Jordan, Israel, and the Palestinians from the West Bank to the East Bank (p. 155). Abu-Odeh elaborates on "the fedayeen episode" (1968-71) and its influence on Palestinians and Jordanians in the East Bank, when the erstwhile integration of the two peoples started to give way to separation.

Those events also heralded the beginning of the process of the political discrimination against the Palestinians in Jordan. …


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