Jordan Does Not Benefit from Creating Tension with Israel

More than two decades before the signing of the Abraham Accords, Amman made peace with Jerusalem. Their cooperative relationship goes back at least to the early 1970s, when Israel intervened to stop a Syrian attempt to overthrow the kingdom and the king of Jordan tried to warn Israel of the impending Yom Kippur War. Yet, Jonathan Schanzer observes, while economic relations and behind-the-scenes security coordination continue, Jordan increasingly sends hostile public messages to its neighbor, and the past decade has been punctuated with crises.

To be sure, Jordan should not be counted among the Iranian axis that actively calls for Israel’s destruction (Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon). However, Jordan today does not fit within the bloc of pragmatic states, such as the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and even Saudi Arabia. Instead, it appears to have found its place among the nonaligned states of the Arab world (for example, Algeria and Kuwait). These are states that advocate stridently for the Palestinian cause and reject normalization. But there is one difference between Jordan and the other states that fit this description: the others do not urgently require sustained assistance from America, Israel, or the Gulf states. This should give the Hashemite kingdom pause.

Historically, political, and diplomatic independence has not been a deleterious thing for Jordan. This fierce sense of independence has steered the kingdom away from toxic nationalist, religious, and ideological trends, such as Islamism and Nasserism. However, in this case, it is difficult to discern what Jordan gains, apart from appeasing some of its own subjects at the expense of greater regional instability and increased prosperity.

The status quo, one in which Jordan enjoys the perks of peace while simultaneously excoriating Israel for real and imagined transgressions, does not portend stability in the region. Nor does it bode well for Jordan, given its dependence upon Israel or the other countries that have committed to a fundamental transformation of the Middle East. The Hashemite kingdom must conduct a strategic review of its peace with Israel, with an eye toward openly acknowledging and further strengthening the security and trade ties that are indispensable for Jordan. Such a review should also assess the potential dangers of allowing ties with Israel to deteriorate, particularly as Jerusalem loses patience with such scathing public rhetoric. Jordan should also conduct a review of the benefits of joining Abraham Accords structures, with the goal of pursuing stability, security, and prosperity.

Read more at FDD

More about: Abraham Accords, Israel diplomacy, Jordan, U.S. Foreign policy


The ICJ’s Vice-President Explains What’s Wrong with Its Recent Ruling against Israel

It should be obvious to anyone with even rudimentary knowledge of the Gaza war that Israel is not committing genocide there, or anything even remotely akin to it. In response to such spurious accusations, it’s often best to focus on the mockery they make of international law itself, or on how Israel can most effectively combat them. Still, it is also worth stopping to consider the legal case on its own terms. No one has done this quite so effectively, to my knowledge, as the Ugandan jurist Julia Sebutinde, who is the vice-president of the ICJ and the only one of its judges to rule unequivocally in Israel’s favor both in this case and in the previous one where it found accusations of genocide “plausible.”

Sebutinde begins by questioning the appropriateness of the court ruling on this issue at all:

Once again, South Africa has invited the Court to micromanage the conduct of hostilities between Israel and Hamas. Such hostilities are exclusively governed by the laws of war (international humanitarian law) and international human-rights law, areas where the Court lacks jurisdiction in this case.

The Court should also avoid trying to enforce its own orders. . . . Is the Court going to reaffirm its earlier provisional measures every time a party runs to it with allegations of a breach of its provisional measures? I should think not.

Sebutinde also emphasizes the absurdity of hearing this case after Israel has taken “multiple concrete actions” to alleviate the suffering of Gazan civilians since the ICJ’s last ruling. In fact, she points out, “the evidence actually shows a gradual improvement in the humanitarian situation in Gaza since the Court’s order.” She brings much evidence in support of these points.

She concludes her dissent by highlighting the procedural irregularities of the case, including a complete failure to respect the basic rights of the accused:

I find it necessary to note my serious concerns regarding the manner in which South Africa’s request and incidental oral hearings were managed by the Court, resulting in Israel not having sufficient time to file its written observations on the request. In my view, the Court should have consented to Israel’s request to postpone the oral hearings to the following week to allow for Israel to have sufficient time to fully respond to South Africa’s request and engage counsel. Regrettably, as a result of the exceptionally abbreviated timeframe for the hearings, Israel could not be represented by its chosen counsel, who were unavailable on the dates scheduled by the Court.

It is also regrettable that Israel was required to respond to a question posed by a member of the Court over the Jewish Sabbath. The Court’s decisions in this respect bear upon the procedural equality between the parties and the good administration of justice by the Court.

Read more at International Court of Justice

More about: Gaza War 2023, ICC, International Law