The U.S. Ignores Jordan’s Role in Encouraging Palestinian Violence

April 25 2022

On Saturday, some 4,000 Christians gathered at Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher to celebrate an Eastern Orthodox pre-Easter ceremony. The next day, the Jordanian government nevertheless condemned Israel for imposing safety regulations that limited the size of crowd. That condemnation comes on the heels of rocket fire from Gaza on Friday and a wave of deadly terrorist attacks—to which Amman has responded only by rebuking the Jewish state for trying “to change the status quo on the Temple Mount.” Israel, of course, has not done anything of the sort. But given Jordan’s protestations about freedom of worship in Jerusalem, it’s worth noting that during its two-decade occupation of the Old City, the kingdom strictly forbade Jews from entering the holy places altogether.

Benny Avni comments:

In the annual rite of clashes at Jerusalem’s holy sites, the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan has emerged as top arsonist even while donning a firefighter disguise. Secretary of State Blinken and Amman’s foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, speaking by phone Monday, “discussed the importance of Israelis and Palestinians working to end the cycle of violence by refraining from actions and rhetoric that further escalate tensions,” according to a State Department statement released today.

Unmentioned in that pointedly evenhanded statement was the tension-escalating rhetoric heard in the Jordanian parliament. In a speech there Sunday, Prime Minister Bisher al-Khasawneh “saluted” Palestinians who “proudly stand like minarets, hurling their stones in a volley of clay at the Zionist sympathizers defiling al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli occupation government.”

Israel is one of Jordan’s major suppliers of energy, as well as its top source of water. . . . Now King Abdullah II encourages a Hamas-led Palestinian attack on Israel that is disguised as a struggle to protect Muslim holy sites. Such attacks, always based on rumors of Jewish conspiracy against the mosques, have a long history.

Mr. Blinken now turns to the king at Amman for help in lowering the flames, again ignoring Jordan’s role in stoking them.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Israeli Christians, Jerusalem, Jordan, Temple Mount


How Israel Can Break the Cycle of Wars in Gaza

Last month saw yet another round of fighting between the Jewish state and Gaza-based terrorist groups. This time, it was Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) that began the conflict; in other cases, it was Hamas, which rules the territory. Such outbreaks have been numerous in the years since 2009, and although the details have varied somewhat, Israel has not yet found a way to stop them, or to save the residents of the southwestern part of the country from the constant threat of rocket fire. Yossi Kuperwasser argues that a combination of military, economic, and diplomatic pressure might present an alternative solution:

In Gaza, Jerusalem plays a key role in developing the rules that determine what the parties can and cannot do. Such rules are designed to give the Israelis the ability to deter attacks, defend territory, maintain intelligence dominance, and win decisively. These rules assure Hamas that its rule over Gaza will not be challenged and that, in between the rounds of escalation, it will be allowed to continue its military buildup, as the Israelis seldom strike first, and the government’s responses to Hamas’s limited attacks are always measured and proportionate.

The flaws in such an approach are clear: it grants Hamas the ability to develop its offensive capabilities, increase its political power, and condemn Israelis—especially those living within range of the Gaza Strip—to persistent threats from Hamas terrorists.

A far more effective [goal] would be to rid Israel of Hamas’s threat by disarming it, prohibiting its rearmament, and demonstrating conclusively that threatening Israel is indisputably against its interests. Achieving this goal will not be easy, but with proper preparation, it may be feasible at the appropriate time.

Revisiting the rule according to which Jerusalem remains tacitly committed to not ending Hamas rule in Gaza is key for changing the dynamics of this conflict. So long as Hamas knows that the Israelis will not attempt to uproot it from Gaza, it can continue arming itself and conducting periodic attacks knowing the price it will pay may be heavy—especially if Jerusalem changes the other rules mentioned—but not existential.

Read more at Middle East Quarterly

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian Islamic Jihad