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Tremors across Jordan as Trump Mideast peace plan revives old fears

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By Reuters

AMMAN – Jordan’s King Abdullah reacts angrily to any suggestion that he might accept a US deal to end the Arab-Israeli conflict that would make his country a homeland for Palestinians.

A general view shows Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan, June 13, 2019. (REUTERS / Muhammad Hamed / MANILA BULLETIN)

A general view shows Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan, June 13, 2019. (REUTERS / MANILA BULLETIN)

Speaking to the armed forces in March, he rejected the idea of Jordan as an alternative state for Palestinians, saying: “Don’t we have a voice in the end?”

Already facing economic discontent at home, Abdullah must navigate diplomatic moves by his US allies that are upturning a regional status-quo that has underpinned Jordan’s internal politics and foreign relations for decades.

After Israel’s creation in 1948 Jordan absorbed more Palestinians than any other country, with some estimates that they now account for more than half the population.

Any changes to the international consensus on a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, and Palestinian refugees’ right of return to what is now Israel and the Palestinian territories, long buttressed by US policy, therefore reverberate harder in Jordan than anywhere else.

US President Donald Trump’s long-promised “Deal of the Century” to resolve the conflict is still secret, though leaked details suggest it dumps the idea of a full Palestinian state in favor of limited self-rule in part of the Occupied Territories, which would undermine Palestinians’ right to return.

It envisages an expansion of Gaza into part of northern Egypt, under Egyptian control, with Palestinians also having a smaller share of the West Bank and some areas on the outskirts of Jerusalem and no control over their borders, the leaks say.

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