As the Case of Jordan Demonstrates, Israel Can Have Better Ties with Its Neighbors without the “Peace Process”

As part of the complex negotiations that will allow Israel to begin exploiting natural gas from beneath its coastal waters, Noble Energy, an American partner in the consortium that has acquired rights to develop the gas field, has made a deal with Jordan to supply it with gas. The agreement won approval in the Jordanian parliament last week, despite much vociferous public opposition to any dealings with Israel. Around the same time, Amman concluded an unrelated accord with Jerusalem and Ramallah to import water from Israeli desalination plants at the Red Sea, some of which will also go to the Palestinian Authority. Oded Eran comments:

This deal [with Noble] is of critical importance for Jordan, which encountered problems when its gas supply from Egypt was cut off due both to the bombing of the pipeline in the Sinai Peninsula by Islamic State and to Egypt’s difficulties in abiding by its agreements to sell gas to Jordan (and to Israel). The deal is also of critical importance to the consortium, which includes three Israeli companies along with the American company, because contracts for future sales enable it to raise the financial resources for developing the gas field. . . .

[P]rogress toward implementing . . . [the] projects for water and energy between Israel and Jordan indicates the positive potential inherent in separating economic and infrastructure progress in trilateral Jordan-Israel-Palestinian relations from progress on a political solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. This statement is not meant to detract from the urgent necessity of reaching at least a gradual solution to the conflict based on the idea of two states for two nations. Rather, it indicates a reality of shortages of energy resources, drinking water, and ports, the need to prevent pollution of crowded population centers, and the irrationality of preventing solutions to these issues by making them conditional upon comprehensively solving all of the core issues of the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

The water and natural-gas agreements with Jordan, as well as the electricity agreement signed between Israel and the Palestinians in September 2016, prove that the sides can reach understandings and perhaps full agreements in many areas, and these can create a positive environment, even if they are not substitutes for political agreements. The Israeli side presumably “subsidized” and lowered the costs for [both] the Jordanians and the Palestinians. This is a worthy subsidy, since with it Israel contributes to the stability of its local geostrategic environment.

Read more at Institute for International Security Studies

More about: Israel & Zionism, Israeli gas, Jordan, Palestinian Authority, Peace Process, Water

 

An Israeli Buffer Zone in the Gaza Strip Doesn’t Violate International Law

 The IDF announced on Thursday that it is safe for residents to return to some of the towns and villages near the Gaza Strip that have been abandoned since October 7. Yet on the same day, rocket sirens sounded in one of those communities, Kibbutz Mefalsim. To help ensure security in the area, Israel is considering the creation of a buffer zone within the Strip that would be closed to Palestinian civilians and buildings. The U.S. has indicated, however, that it would not look favorably on such a step.

Avraham Shalev explains why it’s necessary:

The creation of a security buffer along the Gaza-Israel border serves the purpose of destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and eliminating the threat to Israel. . . . Some Palestinian structures are practically on the border, and only several hundred yards away from Israeli communities such as Kfar Aza, Kerem Shalom, and Sderot. The Palestinian terrorists that carried out the murderous October 7 attacks crossed into Israel from many of these border-adjacent areas. Hamas officials have already vowed that “we will do this again and again. The al-Aqsa Flood [the October 7th massacre] is just the first time, and there will be a second, a third, a fourth.”

In 2018 and 2019, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad organized mass marches towards the Israeli border with the goal of breaking into Israel. Billed by Palestinians as “the Great March of Return,” its name reveals its purpose—invasion. Although the marches were supposedly non-violent, they featured largescale attacks on Israeli forces as well as arson and damage to Israeli agriculture and civilian communities. Moreover, the October 7 massacre was made possible by Hamas’s prepositioning military hardware along the border under false cover of civilian activity. The security perimeter is intended to prevent a reprise of these events.

Shalev goes on to dismantle the arguments put forth about why international law prohibits Israel from creating the buffer zone. He notes:

By way of comparison, following the defeat of Nazi Germany, France occupied the Saar [River Valley] directly until 1947 and then indirectly until reintegration with Germany in 1957, and the Allied occupation of Berlin continued until the reunification of Germany in 1990. The Allies maintained their occupation long after the fall of the Nazi regime, due to the threat of Soviet invasion and conquest of West Berlin, and by extension Western Europe.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Gaza Strip, Gaza War 2023, International Law, Israeli Security