You can bet that when things of this kind reach the general media in this way behind the scenes the Jordanians are already in a panic and preparing for the day when...
PM Sharon rejects Jordan's request to rule out `transfer' in Iraq war
By Aluf Benn
[Ha'aretz - 28 Nov]
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has rejected Jordan's
request that Israel issue a
public declaration opposing the "transfer" of
Palestinians from the West Bank.
Recently, Jordanian officials have displayed
concern about the possibility that
Israel might exploit an American attack on Iraq by
expelling masses of
Palestinians from the West Bank to Jordan. Senior
Jordanian officials have
raised this concern in talks with Israeli and
American counterparts. The
Jordanians asked for assurances that Israel will
refrain from implementing
Jordan's Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher brought
up the concern last
September at the United Nations, in talks with
former foreign minister Shimon
Peres. Muasher asked for a formal Israel
announcement renouncing transfer.
The Jordanians asked that the declaration come
directly from the prime
Peres promised Muasher that he would speak with
Sharon about the issue. The
Jordanian request was delivered through other
channels as well. The request
reached Sharon, but he rejected it.
Sharon refuses to be involved in any discussion
about transfer, explained a
source who was involved in contacts about the
Jordanian request. "He took
exception to the Jordanians raising such a
suspicion about him."
The Americans decided to deliver the Jordanian
message to Israel at a high
official level, explained a top Jordanian
official. President George Bush and
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice raised
the issue in their meetings
with Sharon in Washington last month.
William Burns, Assistant Secretary of State for
Near Eastern Affairs, who visited
the region last October, told Israeli officials
that Jordan's leaders had expressed
fears about mass expulsion of Palestinians during
a coming war against Iraq.
The U.S. assured the Jordanians that no transfer
scenario is in the offing, the
Jordanian source says. Yet officials in Amman
still hope that Israel will issue a
formal declaration. The Jordanian official quoted
remarks made by Israeli
officials in favor of transfer, and cited poll
results that indicate a measure of
public support for the idea.
The Jordanians have refrained from raising the
transfer issue in public due to
the assurances they received from Washington, top
Israeli officials speculated.