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

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

The Arab Press Blames Iran Rather Than Israel for Gaza’s Woes

Following the fighting between Israel and Islamic Jihad over the weekend, many journalists and commentators in Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia didn’t rush to condemn the Jewish state. Instead, as the translators at the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) note, they criticized the terrorist group for “operating in service of Iranian interests and thus inflicting suffering on the Gaza Strip’s residents.” One Saudi intellectual, Turki al-Hamad, wrote the following on Twitter:

It is apparent that, if at one time any confrontation between Israel and the Palestinian organizations would attract world and Arab attention and provoke a wave of anger [against Israel], today it does not shock most Arabs and most of the world’s [countries]. Furthermore, even a sense of human solidarity [with the Palestinians] has become rare and embarrassing, raising the question, “Why [is this happening] and who is to blame?”

I believe that the main reason is the lack of confidence in all the Palestinian leaders. . . . From the Arabs’ and the world’s perspective, it is already clear that these leaders are manipulating the [Palestinian] cause out of self-interest and diplomatic, economic, or even personal motives, and that the Palestinian issue is completely unconnected to this. The Palestinian cause has become a bargaining chip in the hands of these and other organizations and states headed by the [Iranian] ayatollah regime.

A, article in a major Arabic-language newspaper took a similar approach:

In a lengthy front-page report on August 7, the London-based UAE daily Al-Arab criticized Islamic Jihad, writing that “Gaza again became an arena for the settling of accounts between Iran and Israel, while the Palestinian citizens are the ones paying the price.” It added that Iran does not want to confront Israel directly for its bombings in Syria and its attacks on Iranian scientists and nuclear facilities.

“The war in Gaza is not the first, nor will it be the last. But it proves . . . that Iran is exploiting Gaza as it exploits Lebanon, in order to strengthen its hand in negotiations with the West. We all know that Iran hasn’t fired a single bullet at Israel, and it also will not do this to defend Gaza or Lebanon.”

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Read more at MEMRI

More about: Gaza Strip, Iran, Islamic Jihad, Israel-Arab relations, Persian Gulf