Jordan Shares Much of the Blame for Its Rocky Relations with Israel

March 15, 2021 | Herb Keinon
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Last week, Benjamin Netanyahu canceled what was supposed to be a historic visit to the United Arab Emirates. The prime minister officially changed his plans because Jordan delayed granting permission to use its airspace for his flight, but there has also been speculation that other factors were at play. Nevertheless, the poor state of relations between Jerusalem and Amman is undeniable. While it has a variety of causes, Herb Keinon argues that Jordan’s King Abdullah bears a great deal of responsibility:

[I]t is Abdullah who has reportedly refused to take calls from the prime minister for four years now; it is Abdullah who insisted on the return of Naharayim and Tzofar, [two border villages leased to Israel in the 1994 peace treaty]; and it is Abdullah who has refused U.S. requests to extradite Ahlam Tamimi, one of the masterminds of the Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing in Jerusalem in 2001 that killed fifteen, including two American citizens, and wounded 122.

Most of all, it is Abdullah who has done next to nothing during his more than two decades on the throne to promote people-to-people ties with Israel. Sure, he wants Israeli security, intelligence, and water assistance, but he does nothing when Jordanian labor unions call for a boycott of Israel, and paint a picture of an Israeli flag on the floor of their headquarters in Amman to be used as a mat. The 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty never filtered down to the people of Jordan, and Abdullah bears much of the responsibility for that.

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