Israel and Jordan Are Allies. But Jordan’s Parliament Doesn’t Act Like It

In 2016, after five years of U.S.-brokered negotiations, Jerusalem and Amman concluded an agreement to build a pipeline that would bring natural gas from Israel’s coastal waters to Jordanian power plants. The deal is mutually beneficial, and construction is expected to be completed next year. But many Jordanian parliamentarians have condemned it; most recently, one called on his colleagues “to sacrifice their lives and their children’s lives in order to blow up” the pipeline. Edy Cohen comments:

Despite the peace treaty and two-and-a-half decades of diplomatic relations, many in Jordan continue to regard Israel as an illegitimate enemy state. The government is playing a double game: its public hostility toward Israel enables it to preserve its popularity while, behind the scenes, it maintains good relations with Israel. These covert relations are intended among other things to please the [U.S.] and to ensure the supply of water and other resources.

Thus, despite the fiery rhetoric, the Jordanian government behaves rationally. It is in no hurry to make declarations that would lead to the canceling of the deal, which is vital to the kingdom. [But] King Abdullah has yet to make a statement on the issue. At the end of April the Jordanian media reported that the monarch had been given a report analyzing the gas deal with Israel and the ramifications of continuing or freezing it.

It is unlikely Jordan will back out of the deal. Whether Abdullah will publicly affirm the importance of his country’s alliance with Israel is another matter entirely.

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Read more at BESA Center

More about: Israel diplomacy, Jordan, Natural Gas

 

Will Tensions Rise between the U.S. and Israel?

Unlike his past many predecessors, President Joe Biden does not have a plan for solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moreover, his administration has indicated its skepticism about renewing the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. John Bolton nevertheless believes that there could be a collision between the new Benjamin Netanyahu-led Israeli government and the Biden White House:

In possibly his last term, Netanyahu’s top national-security priority will be ending, not simply managing, Iran’s threat. This is infinitely distant from Biden’s Iran policy, which venerates Barrack Obama’s inaugural address: “we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.”

Tehran’s fist is today otherwise occupied, pummeling its own people. Still, it will continue menacing Israel and America unless and until the internal resistance finds ways to fracture the senior levels of Iran’s regular military and the Revolutionary Guards. Netanyahu undoubtedly sees Iran’s growing domestic turmoil as an opportunity for regime change, which Israel and others can facilitate. Simultaneously, Jerusalem can be preparing its military and intelligence services to attack Tehran’s nuclear program, something the White House simply refuses to contemplate seriously. Biden’s obsession with reviving the disastrous 2015 nuclear deal utterly blinds the White House to the potential for a more significant victory.

To make matters worse, Biden has just created a Washington-based position at the State Department, a “special representative for Palestinian affairs,” that has already drawn criticism in Israel both for the new position itself and for the person named to fill it. Advocated as one more step toward “upgrading” U.S. relations with the Palestinian Authority, the new position looks nearly certain to become the locus not of advancing American interests regarding the failed Authority, but of advancing the Authority’s interests within the Biden administration.

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Read more at 19FortyFive

More about: Benjamin Netanyahu, Iran, Joe Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship