by Gordon Thomas
Israel’s hard-line prime minister, Ariel Sharon, has ordered his defence forces to prepare to drive “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians on the West Bank over the border into Jordan.
Jordanian intelligence chiefs say the operation will commence on the day the forthcoming United States conflict starts against Iraq.
Sharon believes that will give him “a just excuse” to remove the Palestinians – as they would then pose what he has called “a totally unacceptable threat to the safety of Israel”.
Details of his plan have been leaked by Jordanian intelligence to Western intelligence services, including MI6.
The revelation will almost certainly deepen the split within the Cabinet of Tony Blair about Britain’s continued support for military action against Saddam Hussein.
King Abdullah II of Jordan revealed his own fear about Israeli intentions on his recent visit to London.