Facing Increasing Irrelevance, Jordan Would Be Best Served by Joining the Abraham Accords

March 24 2021

Two weeks ago, Israel canceled a visit by Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein to the Temple Mount after he sought to come with a large entourage of heavily armed guards. His father, King Abdullah, responded by closing his country’s airspace to Prime Minister Netanyahu, who consequently had to reschedule a planned trip to the United Arab Emirates. Caroline Glick explains the underlying reasons for this spat:

One of the regional developments that keep Abdullah up at night is the still-unofficial alliance between Israel and Saudi Arabia. Abdullah lives in fear that in exchange for Riyadh’s official normalization of ties, Israel will provide the Saudis with a formal role in managing the mosques on the Temple Mount at Jordan’s expense. For its part, as the current custodian of the mosques on the Temple Mount, Jordan has torpedoed every Israeli effort to stabilize the situation at the holy site.

Jordan’s effective irrelevance in a post-Arab-Israeli-conflict Middle East, where Abraham Accords members and supporters dominate the economic and strategic landscape presents Jordan with a choice between two paths. It can continue to . . . insist that all [further] normalization [with Jerusalem] must be contingent on an Israeli surrender of Judea, Samaria, and northern, eastern, and southern Jerusalem—including the Temple Mount. If it does this it will continue to stand at the sidelines—in crushing poverty—as Israel and other Arab states gallop towards unprecedented prosperity and joint development.

Abdullah’s second option is to follow the Egyptian president Abdelfattah el-Sissi’s lead and make his country an adjunct member of the Abraham Accords. Among other things, he can agree to a major expansion of the industrial parks on both sides of the Jordan River, in keeping with the Trump administration’s vision for economic peace. Such a move would, in short order, create hundreds of thousands of jobs for Jordanians, Palestinians, and Israelis and draw billions of dollars in foreign investment to all sides.

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Read more at JNS

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Jordan, King Abdullah

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