Jordan’s Growing Belligerence toward Israel

January 20, 2023 | Yoni Ben Menachem
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Since the signing of the 1994 peace treaty, there have been comparatively good relations between Amman and Jerusalem. Jordan depends heavily on the IDF to maintain its security, and Israel views any threat to the kingdom’s sovereignty as a threat to itself. But in recent years the relationship has become increasingly frosty, and since 2020 King Abdullah has worried that, in the event of a Saudi-Israeli peace agreement, the house of Saud will usurp his own dynasty’s special status as guarantor of the Islamic holy sites in Jerusalem. Yoni Ben Menachem comments:

King Abdullah’s immediate strategy is to isolate the new government in Israel and to present it to the world as a racist, apartheid government. He coordinates in this matter with the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas and supports all Palestinian moves against Israel in the UN arena and at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The king has complete support in the Jordanian parliament for this strategy, He is furthermore influenced by the opposition Islamic Action Front, a Muslim Brotherhood affiliate, which also exerts pressure on him because of the difficult economic situation in Jordan and the increase in fuel and food prices.

Relatedly, the king also focuses on the Palestinian issue to divert the attention of the Jordanian street from Jordan’s difficult economic problems.

What should be of considerable concern to Israel is the King’s intention to put a wedge between Israel and the Arab countries with which it has peace and normalization agreements and to try and isolate it. Jordan did not participate in the second gathering of the Negev Forum, [made up of Israel, the U.S., and several friendly Arab states], that took place on January 9, 2023, in Abu Dhabi, despite requests from the United States and the other countries that are members of the forum.

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