Jordan Has Little Reason for Ending Its Peace Treaty with Israel

May 21, 2020 | Alan Baker
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If Jerusalem goes ahead with plans to extend its sovereignty over parts of the West Bank, King Abdullah of Jordan has warned, “massive conflict” could ensue. Some observers have read this comment as a threat to withdraw from the 1994 treaty with the Jewish state. But Alan Baker argues that such an outcome is “highly unlikely”:

Since the issue of the status of Judea and Samaria is, in article 3 [of the treaty], specifically excluded from the border-delimitation provisions of their respective territory, Jordan cannot claim that unilateral application of law or sovereignty by Israel in such territories constitutes a violation of the peace treaty or grounds for its revocation.

Some of the central components of the peace relationship represent interests that are vital to Jordan such as water allocations (article 6), economic relations (article 7), Jordan’s special historic role in Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem (article 9), freedom of navigation and access to ports (article 14), and civil aviation and rights of overflight, including Jordanian overflight of Israeli territory to reach points in Europe (article 15). To cancel or revoke such vital components would not serve the interests of Jordan and would undermine its very stability.

Should Jordan wish to solve a dispute with Israel regarding the application or interpretation of the peace treaty, article 29 establishes a dispute-settlement mechanism of negotiation, conciliation, or arbitration.

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