Jordan’s King Abdullah II lashed out on Sunday against domestic opponents arguing for Jordan to become the “alternative homeland” for the Palestinians.
“Jordan is Jordan and Palestine is Palestine, and nothing else, not in the past or the future,” Abdullah reportedly said, according to the official Jordanian news agency Petra.
Abdullah made the comments in a meeting with senior government officials, including Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, Senate President Abdelraouf al-Rawabdeh, House of Representatives Speaker Atef Tarawneh, senior members of the judiciary and others.
“We know how this issue has been surfacing [for the past] 15 years, or even more,” Abdullah said, and called talk of turning Jordan into a Palestinian state “sedition.”
“There are more important issues to focus on, especially with regards to political and economic reform,” Abdullah insisted, and issued a warning to those advocating a change in the identity of the state: “We know this group, and if this issue is repeated next year, we will declare who they are by name.”
The idea that Jordan might become the Palestinian nation-state has been advanced by some right-wing Israeli groups eager to find an alternative to the West Bank for a future Palestinian homeland. But Abdullah was speaking on Sunday to domestic critics whose talk of a possible Palestinian future for Jordan is intended as a critique of the monarchy.
Approximately half of Jordan’s population is Palestinian in origin.
Abdullah also told the assembled officials that the US was closely consulting with Jordan in the ongoing US-brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, especially on the issues of “Jerusalem, the refugees, borders, water and security.”
Jordan is a close ally of the United States, and was the second Arab state, after Egypt, to make peace with Israel. In a mid-February meeting between Abdullah and US President Barack Obama, the American administration pledged $1 billion in loan guarantees for Jordan to help offset an estimated $900 million in expenses related to the influx of refugees to the country from the Syrian civil war to the north.