Q. What do you think about the recent report that a prominent Dutch politician is calling for Jordan to change its name to Palestine as part of a solution to the Middle East conflict?
A. It’s a great idea with both Biblical and historical precedent. As the Israelites were traveling toward the promised land God told Moses,
“Give the people these orders: ‘You are about to pass through the territory of your brothers the descendants of Esau, who live in Seir. They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war, for I will not give you any of their land, not even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country of Seir as his own. You are to pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.’” (Deut 2:4-6).
Seir bordered the Promised Land on the South East and was also called Edom. Lot’s sons Moab and Ammon (after whom the capitol of Jordan is named) were given the land north of Edom and East of the Jordan. Together these three land grants make up the land currently occupied by Jordan.
In 1921 the British partitioned the land they had been given control of following WW1 ( the British mandate) into Israel as a Jewish homeland and trans-Jordan (later Jordan) as a homeland for the “Palestinians”. Jordan gained its independence in 1946, two years before Israel was declared an independent nation. As late as 1981 King Hussein of Jordan was widely quoted as saying “The truth is that Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan.”