Israel–Jordan relations

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Israel–Jordan relations
Map indicating locations of Israel and Jordan

Israel

Jordan
King Hussein and Yitzhak Rabin

Israel–Jordan relations refers to diplomatic, economic and cultural relations between Jordan and Israel. The two countries have had official diplomatic relations since the 1994 signing of the Israel–Jordan peace treaty. Jordanian King Abdullah views Israel as a vital regional ally in the Middle East.[1]

History[edit]

1948-1994[edit]

The relationships between Jewish leaders in Israel and the Hashemite dynasty in the area was characterized by ambivalence as both parties' prominence grew in the area. Jordan consistently subscribed to an anti-Zionist policy, but made decisions pragmatically. Several factors are cited for this relative pragmatism. Among these are the two countries' geographic proximity, King Hussein's Western orientation, and Jordan's modest territorial aspirations. Nevertheless, a state of war existed between the two countries from 1948 until the treaty was signed.

Memoirists and political analysts have identified a number of "back-channel" and at times clandestine communications between the two countries, often resulting in limited accommodations even during times of war.

After the Fedayeen attacks from Jordan decreased after Israel's victory in the 1956 Suez War, the tense relations between Israel and Jordan following the 1948 Arab-Israeli war eased. In the 1967 Six Day War, Jordan aligned itself with Nasser's Egypt despite an Israeli warning. This resulted in the loss of East Jerusalem and the West Bank to Israel. This was an economic loss to the kingdom since much of the kingdom's economy was based in the West Bank.

In 1970 King Hussein waged the war of Black September against the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), eventually ejecting the organization and thousands of Palestinians, who threatened Hussein's rule. During Black September, Syrian troops invaded the kingdom, threatening to further destabilize the regime. In response, the Israeli Air Force made a series of overflights over the Syrian forces, prompting them to return to Syria.

The war against the PLO factions may have strengthened the connections between Israel and Jordan. Some claim that Mossad warned Hussein about a Palestinian assassination attempt and that Hussein warned Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in a clandestine face-to-face meeting about Egyptian and Syrian threats prior to the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Hussein's intention was to stay out of the war.

In 1987 Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Shimon Peres and King Hussein tried to secretly arrange a peace agreement in which Israel would concede the West Bank to Jordan. The two signed the "Peres-Hussein London Agreement", defining a framework for a Middle Eastern peace conference. The proposal was not consummated due to Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s objection. The following year Jordan abandoned its claim for the West Bank in favor of a peaceful resolution between Israel and the PLO.[2]

Israel-Jordan peace treaty[edit]

A handshake between Hussein I of Jordan and Yitzhak Rabin, accompanied by Bill Clinton, during the Israel-Jordan peace negotiations, October 26, 1994

Peace negotiations between Israel and Jordan began in 1994. Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres informed King Hussein that after the Oslo Accords with the PLO, Jordan might be "left out of the big game". Rabin, Hussein and Clinton signed the Washington Declaration in Washington, DC, on July 25, 1994. The Declaration says that Israel and Jordan ended the official state of enmity and would start negotiations in order to achieve an "end to bloodshed and sorrow" and a just and lasting peace.[3]

On October 26, 1994, the governments of Jordan and Israel signed a historic peace treaty. The treaty normalized relations between the two countries and resolved territorial disputes, such as water sharing.[4] The conflict had cost roughly US$18.3 billion. The treaty was closely linked with the efforts to create peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The signing ceremony occurred at the southern border crossing of Arabah, and made Jordan only the second Arab country, after Egypt, to normalize relations with Israel.

In 1996 the two nations signed a trade treaty. As part of the agreement, Israel assisted in establishing a modern medical center in Amman.

Jordan River Crossing

2010-2014[edit]

In 2010, when the government of Jordan sought permission from international governments to produce nuclear fuel for use in Jordanian power plants, Israel objected, citing the unstable political nature of the Middle East. In light of the Israeli objection the request for United States approval was denied.[5]

In a meeting with the Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs in Canada, Jordanian King Abdullah noted that Israel, which he recognizes as a vital regional ally, has been highly responsive to requests by Abdullah to resume direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.[1] Promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority is a major priority for Jordan. It supports U.S. efforts to mediate a final settlement, which it believes should be based on the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative, proposed by Saudi Arabia.[6]

Economic relations[edit]

Jordan has also benefited economically from the peace treaty. As a result of the treaty, Qualified Industrial Zones were developed in Jordan. In these zones, companies that use a percentage of Israeli inputs can export duty-free to the United States. As of 2010, the zones have generated 36,000 jobs, and have become the strongest engine for Jordan's economic growth. Many of the jobs have gone to Asian workers, and the opposition Muslim Brotherhood movement has asked the government to shut them down, but the government maintains that the zones still provide jobs for thousands of Jordanians.[7][8]

In 2013, Israel facilitated Jordanian trade with Iraq and Turkey by allowing goods to be transported by truck via the Jordan River Crossing near Beit She'an. The goods are taken to Haifa Port and shipped from there to Iraq and Turkey.[9]

In 2014, Israeli and Jordanian officials signed a 15-year deal in which Israel will supply $500 million worth of gas to Jordan from the Tamar natural gas field in the Mediterranean.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Centre Leadership Meets With King Abdullah". The Centre for Israel & Jewish Affairs. September 4, 2012. Retrieved September 6, 2012. 
  2. ^ Kifner, John (August 1, 1998). "Hussein surrenders claims on west bank to the P.L.O.". New York Times. 
  3. ^ "The Washington Declaration". Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. July 25, 1994. Retrieved 2012-05-07. 
  4. ^ Susskind, Lawrence; Shafiqul Islam (2012). "Water Diplomacy: Creating Value and Building Trust in Transboundary Water Negotiations". Science & Diplomacy 1 (3). 
  5. ^ Bar'el, Zvi (July 7, 2010). "Who's Afraid of the Jordanian Atom?". Haaretz. 
  6. ^ Jordan: Background and U.S. Relations Congressional Research Service (January 27, 2014)
  7. ^ Jamal Halaby (April 12, 2010). "Business with Israel pays off in Jordan". Associated Press. 
  8. ^ David Makovsky (January 31, 2003). "Peace Pays Off for Jordan". Los Angeles Times. 
  9. ^ Iraqi goods travel to Turkey via Israel
  10. ^ Israel-Jordan sign $500 million natural gas deal

External links[edit]