The attempts now being made to revive the “road map” to a final settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the creation of a Palestinian state are at only a preliminary stage. The recent international conference in London, aimed at supporting reforms in the Palestinian Authority and shoring up support for renewed negotiations with Israel, is one of those preliminary efforts.
I suggest, however, that it is not mediation that is needed: what the Palestinians need now are partners. In their conflict with Israel, their natural and historical partner has always been Jordan.
That partnership was never broken. Articles 3 and 8 of Jordan’s peace treaty with Israel refer explicitly to the refugee problem as one of the major issues still to be resolved, as well as citing the unresolved status of trans-border arrangements and of Jerusalem. Jordan is not outside the peace process, but an essential part of it.
The original road map sketched out at the Madrid Conference in 1991 envisaged two stages: the final settlement of disputes between the Palestinians and Israel, and the permanent settlement of regional conflicts. Jordan’s participation in both stages is crucial.