Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians

(New English Review) Dr. Mordechai Nisan - Jordan has sustained a stable regime in contrast to the political chaos afflicting the Arab world in recent years. Amman did not face a popular uprising. Jordan serves as a buffer state to hamper a possible Arab military onslaught from the east. This establishes a tacit alliance between the two countries: Jordan guards the eastern approaches to Israel, and Israel serves as a guarantor for Jordan's existence. Any potential aggressor from the east would encounter Israel's military intervention to thwart or preempt ground forces traversing Jordan and advancing toward Israel. An Arab incursion into Jordan or proximate military advances toward the Jordanian border would ignite a trip-wire Israeli response to secure Jordan and Israel in one stroke. Jordan and Israel concluded a peace treaty in 1994, but their public relationship does not convey public trust and political calm. It is a "cold peace" and Amman sabotaged normalization from the start. No people-to-people peace, harassment of Israeli tourists, and few official Jordanian visits to Israel. Israel gives/sells water and gas to Jordan, while Jordan publicly humiliated Israel by terminating the leasing of agricultural lands at Tzofar in 2020. In the wake of Palestinian riots on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem in April 2022, Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh "saluted every Palestinian...who throws rocks at the Zionists who pollute the Al-Aqsa Mosque." The Jordan Bar Association called on the government to sever diplomatic ties with Israel. For the Palestinians west of the Jordan River, the incompatibilities with Israel are too formidable, the power differential too great, the level of mistrust too high, and the shortcomings of Palestinian nationhood too debilitating to enable the Palestinians to overwhelm Zionism and destroy Jewish statehood. Israel, entrenched and resolute, will not capitulate even in the face of widespread terrorism and/or global pressure. The writer is professor of Middle East studies at the Rothberg International School of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

2022-06-09 00:00:00

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