In an interview with the Jordanian Al-Mamlaka TV, former Jordanian Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher said that now that the two-state solution is off the table, Jordan must reexamine its peace accord with Israel, because Israel is acting against Jordan's interests. Muasher added that in light of the crisis in Syria, where six million Syrians left their country in six months, it can no longer be claimed that the expulsion of the Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan is inconceivable. Muasher, who served as the first Jordanian Ambassador to Israel, said that he is still haunted by this and that he has not engaged in any normalization with Israel or visited it in the 23 years since he left his post. The interview aired on November 7, 2019.
Following are excerpts:
Marwan Muasher: Jordan's main concern was, and continues to be, the establishment of a Palestinian state on national Palestinian soil. In the absence of the two-state solution, Jordanian national security will face a direct threat. I have said this on many occasions. It was not the love of Israel that brought Jordan to the peace accords. Today, it is clear that Israel is acting against the two-state solution, and that it does not want a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza – a position it shares with the current American administration. Therefore, in my opinion, Israel is actively working against Jordan's national interest, and not only against the Palestinian national interest. Therefore, Jordan's approach towards Israel should be completely different from what we have seen in the past. We have to be firm. I don't understand things like the gas deal. What is the purpose of the gas deal? We are placing 40% of Jordan's energy in the hands of Israel for another 15 years, although we know full well that Israel is acting against Jordan's better interest – it is doing so in public, not even in secret. So we have to be firm. What happened yesterday is clear evidence of that. When Jordan is assertive in matters of security, it can gain concessions from Israel.
Interviewer: You are talking about the crisis involving the [Jordanian prisoners]...
Marwan Muasher: I'm talking about Hiba al-Labadi and Abdul Rahman Miri and about Khaled Mashal before them. The late King Hussein threatened to nullify the entire peace accord.
Marwan Muasher: If Israel does not want a Palestinian state on Palestinian soil – and it does not want this, this is quite clear – and if Israel does not want a Palestinian majority in the areas under its control – and I believe that it does not – what else can it do? It can expel the Palestinians to Jordan, one way or another. In the past, we used to say that this is impossible – that in today's world, one cannot expel millions of people from their land. After Syria, we can no longer say this. Six million Syrians left their land in six months. One can create the circumstances for something like this to happen.
I support reexamining (the Israeli-Jordanian peace accord), as well as our entire approach towards Israel. Any rapprochement – economic or other – with Israel in the past or present should be entirely reexamined, in my view. How can I reconcile such rapprochement with the full certainty that Israel is acting against my interest. Now, we do have international considerations as well. To be clear, the nullification of the [peace] accord is not that simple, for many international reasons, but between this nullification and the Israeli-Jordanian rapprochement there are a lot of things we can – and I think should – do in this respect.
Interviewer: You were the first Jordanian ambassador to Israel.
Marwan Muasher: Right.
Interviewer: Perhaps this is still haunting you.
Marwan Muasher: No doubt.
I'll have you know that I haven't visited Israel since I left my post. I have not been engaged in any normalization activity since I left my post. I have not had any relations with any Israelis since I left that post. Do you know when it was? 23 years ago. 23 years!