Jordan King Abdullah held an emergency meeting last night with Prime Minister Olmert and Defense Minister Barak to plead that the IDF stay out of Gaza because a conflict in the Gaza Strip could ignite the already delicate situation in Jordan – where over 60% are Palestinians, and undermine his regime.
On the other hand, to this day there are otherwise serious Israelis who, recognizing that it would be sheer madness for Israel to cut a deal with the Palestinians that would leave them responsible for security in Palestinian areas of the West Bank, propose assigning the task to Jordanian troops.
What’s the connection?
If the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan thinks their street won’t stomach their simply standing idly by as Israel defends itself against Palestinian terrorists, they certainly won’t accept Jordanian forces acting as “Israel’s subcontractor” in the West Bank.
Yes, Jordan not only captures but even prosecutes and jails Arabs who engage in terror activity against Israeli targets from within Jordan. But in that case the crime is more violating Jordan’s sovereignty than it is the action against Israelis.
This would by no means be the case should Jordanian soldiers find themselves chasing after terrorists from Kalkiliya preparing and executing attacks against Israelis in neighboring Kfar Sava.
Arab forces deployed in the West Bank from any country would face similar pressures not to perform.
It certainly is frustrating that simplistic “solutions” like handing over security in the West Bank to Jordan and the Gaza Strip to Egypt can’t stand up to a little reality testing.
But the purpose of the exercise isn’t to propose unworkable solutions as if it was no more than a task on a list that one wants to check off.
The policy debate deserves and should require more than that.