Three Inside Perspectives on Jordan’s Late Peacemaker King

In 1962, King Hussein of Jordan, who ruled the country from 1952 until his death in 1999, established a secret radio channel with Israel; eleven years later, on the eve of the Yom Kippur War, he would try to warn Jerusalem of the impending Syrian attack. These early instances of outreach would pave the way to the treaty signed between his country and the Jewish state in 1994. David Makovsky discusses King Hussein’s life and his relations with Israel first with Robert Satloff, and then with Hussein’s grandson, Prince Hassan bin Talal, the brother of the current king. Next Makovsky speaks with Efraim Halevy, who throughout his long career at the Mossad—an organization he would lead from 1998 to 2002—played a key role in communications with the Jordanian monarch. Of particular interest are Halevy’s comments on the tensions between the two countries during the Persian Gulf War, when Hussein and then-Prime Minister Yitzḥak Shamir made Halevy their “trusted intermediary.” (Audio, 43 minutes.)

Read more at Decision Points

More about: Israel diplomacy, Jordan, Mossad, Persian Gulf War, Yitzhak Shamir

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