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Arab/Muslim World: Palestinians Concerned About Jordanian Disengagement From West Bank

(August 1, 1988)

State Department cable discussing Palestinian reaction to Jordan’s announcement July 28, 1988, and King Hussein’s speech July 31, cutting many links with the occupied territories. PLO supporters generally welcome the announcements as confirmation of PLO primacy in the territories, but their enthusiasm is tempered by concern about the practical consequences. Pro-Jordan figures say the decision is a “tragedy” and fear enduring political gridlock, with the West Bankers unable to represent themselves, the PLO unable to represent them with Israel, and the situation on the ground worsening. Nearly all say they hope the U.S. will channel development funds into a direct West Bank/Gaza program. Many fear Jordan will move to restrict travel by limiting bridge crossings or passport facilities. Most admit there is much uncertainty and say more time is needed to fully assess the new situation. Arafat’s visit to Amman is seen as a critical next step.

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Source: U.S. State Department