Jordanians, Palestinians & the Hashemite Kingdom

Adnan Abu Odeh

Jordanians, Palestinians & the Hashemite Kingdom in the Middle East Peace Process by Adnan Abu-Odeh (1999) is an excellent book on Jordan. Such an important book should have been translated and made required reading in Jordan, at least at the university level. Abu-Odeh makes an honest and frank assessment of the state of Jordan. However, unfortunately, the book has been treated as a divisive book. The book resulted in Abu odeh been ostracized by the Jordanian establishment for shedding light on inconvenient truths.

Below are excerpts:

On Communal relations:

"A survey conducted in September 1994 by the Center for Strategic Studies of Jordan University indicated that strong affinities still exist between Palestinian-Jordanians and Transjordanians. Among a nationwide sample, 64.9% of Transjordanians and 72.3 percent of Palestinian-Jordanians believed that the interaction between the two communities had molded them into one people. Interestingly, while the division of opinion among Palestinian-Jordanian opinion makers closely mirrored the opinions of Palestinian-Jordanian as a whole (62.5 percent of opinion makers considered the two groups to have been molded into one people), opinion makers in the Transjordanian community were significantly less likely than other Transjordanians to subscribe to this view (the figure for Transjordanian opinion makers was only 47.8%). This finding is not surprising when we consider that a large section of the Transjordanian elite has been involved for more than two decades in encouraging exclusivist attitudes toward Palestinian Jordanians." P. 274

De-Palestinianization of the public sector

"Trans-Jordanianization of the public sector developed in the late 1970s into de-Palestinianization- a process defended on the grounds that it constituted no more than an equitable division of labor, given Palestinian dominance of the private sector. The Transjordanian elite did not seem concerned about the long term ramifications of this unwritten policy- namely that it would aggravate and institutionalize the communal rupture.  Nor did they expect that they would lose control of Transjordanian nationalism." P. 276  

On Confederation between Palestine and Jordan:

"The confederal formula, which allows both Jordanians and Palestinians to maintain their identities, seems an ideal means of promoting mutual confidence and healing the rupture between Transjordanians and Palestinian-Jordanians.  Confederation would make it possible for a large number of Palestinian-Jordanians to vote for a Palestinian parliament while they are still residents of Jordan. Though each country would have its own head of state, the presidency of the confederation could alternate between the king of Jordan and the president of Palestine. (Should the king find such an arrangement unacceptable, the Hashemite supraregional monarch might assume the role of reigning head of the confederation.)" P. 281


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