Jordan worries Israel-UAE deal will scuttle two-state solution

T. Belman. This is the money-quote “With more Arab countries expected to follow the UAE’s example before the November US elections, Jordan’s longstanding political approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will become a minority position. But there are no signs that Amman is changing course.” Nor is there any sign that Abbas is changing course.

I have no doubt that extending sovereignty has only been delayed until after Nov 3/20.  Peace Treaty when signed will not bind Israel to forego her rights. And when she finally extends sovereignty, all Arab countries who have peace treaties with Israel will not abort them..

Jordan has always been a staunch supporter of the two-state solution and the Arab Peace Initiative, but that might not mean much anymore after Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize ties under a historic US-brokered deal.


al-monitor Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi (C-R) and his Emirati counterpart Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan (C-L) speak to journalists upon the latter’s arrival in the capital Amman on March 13, 2018. Photo by KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP via Getty Images.

Jordan’s defense of the two-state solution as the only path for peace between Arab states and Israel has always been an uphill struggle that grew harder when Donald Trump moved into the White House. But the recent normalization agreement between the United Arab Emirates and Israel has made this objective more difficult to attain than ever. The UAE has claimed that the deal, announced by Trump on Aug. 14, has buried Israel’s plan to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was quick to announce that annexation was still “on the table.”

For years Jordan has nervously watched Israel and a number of Gulf States engage in secret and sometimes open contacts, encouraged by Washington. Only the UAE, Bahrain and Oman sent their ambassadors to attend the unveiling of Trump’s peace vision at the White House on Jan. 28. Jordan’s King Abdullah has ignored the proposal and reiterated his support for the two-state solution as outlined by the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002. Under that plan, normalization between Arab states and Israel can only take place following Israel’s withdrawal from the West Bank, paving the way for the creation of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital.

Jordan’s reaction to the UAE-Israel deal was muted. Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said in an Aug. 14 statement, “The deal will be tied to Israel’s actions in the post-agreement period,” according to the Jordan Times. Safadi was quoted as saying, “If Israel considers the agreement as a means to end the occupation and meet the Palestinians’ rights to freedom and the creation of a viable independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital on the pre-1967 borders, the region will move ahead towards realizing peace, or else Israel will deepen the conflict that will jeopardize the entire region’s security.”

His carefully worded statement, which avoided criticizing the UAE for breaking ranks with the rest of the Arab countries, reflected Jordan’s sensitivity over the sudden but unsurprising deal. King Abdullah and Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed have a close working relationship. The Jordanian monarch was in Abu Dhabi as recently as July 22 to discuss ways to improve bilateral ties and regional issues including the challenges facing the Palestinian cause. Both leaders rejected any unilateral steps in reference to Israel’s intention to annex parts of the West Bank, according to a royal court statement.

Newspaper columns avoided any mention of the UAE-Israel deal while the news received minimal media coverage. Only columnist Fahd al-Khitan, who is known for having close ties to the government, wrote on the subject for Al Ghad on Aug. 15. He said that the deal was a way for both Trump and Netanyahu to walk away from the annexation move, which was rejected by the entire world. Khitan added that normalization has become the objective rather than a just and lasting peace deal based on the Arab Peace Initiative, which is no longer valid.

But Jordanians were openly critical of the deal on social media, going as far as accusing Emirati leaders of treason and of abandoning the Palestinians. Though Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty 26 years ago, a vast majority of Jordanians, many of Palestinian origin, are against normalization with Israel.

With more Arab countries expected to follow the UAE’s example before the November US elections, Jordan’s longstanding political approach to resolving the Palestinian-Israeli conflict will become a minority position. But there are no signs that Amman is changing course.

On Aug. 18, Safadi paid a surprise visit to the West Bank city of Jericho to meet with the secretary of the Central Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, Saeb Erekat. A Foreign Ministry statement read that Israel’s halting of its plan to annex Palestinian lands and embrace of the two-state solution are necessary conditions for “opening a political horizon” and that the Arab Peace Initiative is “the sole path” to peace.

But while Netanyahu bragged about other Arab countries joining the UAE, Jordanian officials breathed a sigh of relief when after almost a week of silence, Saudi Arabia renewed its commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan was quoted by Arab News on Aug. 19 as saying that peace must be achieved with the Palestinians on the basis of the initiative before any changes can be made in ties with Israel. “When we sponsored the Arab Peace Plan in 2002, we fully envisioned that there would eventually be relations between all Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, and Israel if the condition is met,” Farhan said.

The Saudi reaction will boost Jordan’s position, but Amman knows that Washington will continue to exert pressure on Arab capitals to follow the UAE’s example.

Unlike any other Arab country, Jordan has a unique relationship to the West Bank, which was under Jordanian administration when it was occupied in 1967. The kingdom hosts two million Palestinian refugees and its “open bridges” policy is the West Bank’s only gateway to the rest of the world. Furthermore, under the Jordan-Israel peace treaty, the king enjoys a special role as custodian of Al-Aqsa Mosque in east Jerusalem, long a source of tension between Jordan and Israel. With Israel inviting Muslims to visit the mosque via Abu Dhabi or Dubai, Jordan fears that its special role may be compromised.

Head of the Jerusalem Center for Political Studies Orieb al-Rintawi told Al-Monitor that Jordanian officials were shocked by the UAE-Israel deal and had not been consulted before its announcement. “Jordan is worried that the deal will set a new approach to resolving the conflict, one that departs from the two-state solution and replaces it with Trump’s peace vision,” he said.

“The deal is more than just normalization of ties; it is close to a strategic alliance in the region which would introduce a new strategic agenda for the region that leaves Jordan and the Palestinians by themselves,” Rintawi added.

Political analyst and head of the Middle East Center for Media and Political Studies Amer Sabaileh believes the damage to Jordan’s geopolitical role will be limited. “Jordan’s ties to the West Bank are both geographical and demographic in nature. Its peace treaty with Israel benefits both sides, especially in the security area, and neither side will risk damaging bilateral ties,” he said.

Sabaileh added, “On the other hand, Jordan used to be the back channel for any contacts between Israel and the Gulf and that is now ending. With the new deal, that back channel is no longer needed.”

The signing of the UAE-Israel normalization accord will reportedly take place in Washington next month. The question now is whether Jordan will attend the signing ceremony. There will be a price to pay for either choice.

August 22, 2020 | 15 Comments » | 462 views

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15 Comments / 15 Comments

  1. There never has been a two-state “solution”, unless Jordan is counted, as it ought to be, as one of those two states. The closest anyone has come to “two states” being carved out of Israel’s sovereign territory, has been Israel’s setting Gaza free to become a de facto independent, Hamas terrorist stronghold. That’s the actual reality of the “State of Palestine” that most of the world fantasizes about.

  2. Both the Yishuv – now Israel — and the Arabs of what was British Palestine desperately want a room of their own ie a two state solution. As much was quickly noted and conceded by the British creation of (Trans-)Jordan and by their support of Abdullah I snaffling Judea and Samaria to be his “West Bank. In fact that is why the Yishuv and pre 67 Israel were willing to accept less than all Cis-Jordan [“From the River to the Sea”] and why the Arab refusals – eight times from Peel to Trump – have dumped them in their own farm manure heap – in a manner of political metaphor.

    Having established the principle, the Arab demand for a West Bank of Jordan state is supernumary to the principle and as they had no objection to being Jordanian 1949 – 1967 there is no reason not to return to being Jordanian. So what are the difficulties? For fifty years and bloodshed the West Bank of Jordan has developed more wealth and character and its own political class with a particular incompetence. OK give them autonomy but in Jordan. That way they have a state with representation both in and abroad, and police so security and other services but as a demilitarised province of Jordan there will be no tanks aircraft nor other weaponry to menace Israel West of the R. Jordan. There are some good precedents for this sort of DMZ despite full sovereignty of the parties: since 1871 there have been DMZ on the Franco German frontier at the Swiss end – despite the restoration of Alsace-Lorraine to France. Sinai is demilitarised in the Egyptian – Israel peace subject to Israeli permission to bring in APC’s etc to deal with rebels. The demilitarisation of the Rhineland worked as tripwire alarm till the French lost their nerve to enforce it in 1934.

  3. @ Frank Adam:

    The Arab mamzerim have said a thousand times that they want a ONE State solution, meaning NO israel at all.

    On another point…why is Netanyahu always regarded as “bragging” when he mentions the UAE agreement and/or the possibility of other Arab/Islamic States following suit. Isn’t that what a premier Statesman is supposed to attain to, Has the word “announced” gone out of fashion, ……..

  4. @ Edgar G.:

    A- BB is a pathological LIAR!
    B- Publish full agreement to see all flaws unfiltered.
    C- Trump not reliable
    D- Trump might well be gone by end of the year then what?

  5. @ Michael S:
    Actually, that was the second of many “two state solutions.” The first was that the Jews get Palestine, including today’s Jordan and the Arabs get the rest, originally envisioned as one Arab state, though the Arabs are hardly the only other people in the Middle East.

  6. @ yamit82:”

    A). Pathological liar is far too strong-and WRONG..”expedient liar” is more suitable..
    ALL politicians are expedient liars, when the necessity arises….

    B) Asking to publish a majorly secret document which MUST contain many factors and nuances, which may never be known, or not known for years , for the curiosity of the ignorant public, is the height of foolishness. ANY PM who would do such a thing, would be execrated for life, .after destroying the fragile, tentative approach between two formerly mortal enemies.

    C) Trump is at least as reliable as any US President has ever been, and FAR more so than most -if not all. Except those who reliably hated us.

    D) Trump might also be “NOT gone by end of year, and then business as usual or better. I’m sure Israel planners have ths possibility covered by a contingency plan If they don’t, then your guess is as good as mine…just a guess.

    Add; You have posted some of the most gripping, intelligent and knowledgeable comments on here, but many are marred by the unconcealed hatred you always show against Netanyahu. But I’m glad to see you on site again.

  7. @ Edgar G.:

    OMG…To compare BB with any other random political leader wrt his pathological lying is amusing considering his long illustrious political career. His penchant for fabrication is so well known and documented, any who reject this truism should check their sources.

  8. Yesha Council Outraged:
    Netanyahu freezing construction in Judea and Samaria
    Construction planning committee not convened in half a year, effectively freezing new construction in Judea and Samaria.
    Tags: Binyamin Netanyahu
    Arutz Sheva Staff , 26/08/20 08:59
    “For more than half a year not a single housing unit has been approved in the area, and we haven’t been given a final date for the convening of the committee. We now find ourselves in the midst of a construction freeze in Judea, Samaria, and the Jordan Valley.”

    While the “Palestinians” are allowed (thanks to Netanyahu) to build in area C with financing provided by the EU.

  9. @ Edgar G.:
    Edgar G. Said:

    B) Asking to publish a majorly secret document which MUST contain many factors and nuances, which may never be known, or not known for years , for the curiosity of the ignorant public, is the height of foolishness. ANY PM who would do such a thing, would be execrated for life, .after destroying the fragile, tentative approach between two formerly mortal enemies.

    Must disagree… Every agreement has pros and cons and since we are the ones that will pay probably in blood and treasure if not sovereignty we have a right to know before not after. I don’t trust Trump or his stupid Yeshiva dropout son in law. Trump has no core values or principles and is totally transactional, he has paid Israel and expects reciprocity from BB. BB is an ass licker and a groveler, a liar even a traitor and cannot be trusted he might steal the kitchen sink if Sarah likes it more than what they own like they did switching newer nicer patio furniture from the official PM residence with those in the private villa in Cesarea. He is also a totally corrupt individual with no close or real friends, I wonder why? No loyalty from that quarter not to friends, family or country defines him.

  10. @ yamit82:
    I find it amazing that Israel’s Prime Minister is empowered to negotiate in secret(!) agreements (virtually dictated to him by a foreign country) that may harm Israel including loss of territory, sovereignty, security, and human life.
    Can you imagine what would happen in the US if one of the Presidents concluded a secret agreement with France to return (or to sell) to them the state of Louisiana or with Russia to give back Alaska, or to cede Texas to Mexico because “it would improve our relationship and ensure peace”?

  11. @ yamit82:

    You keep repeating what you WANT to believe. You ignore the massive achievements he has accomplished …with his “pathological lying”. I suppose that the Ghetto Jews told the Nazis the truth when they were asked “where is Garfunkel he is due to be shot”..

    Quit it, it’s worn out. The guy is being railroaded into fake, political trials that will ruin his family for a generation. And at the same time, he’s not only keeping the wolves away from Israel, but actually spreading Israel’s influence into unheard of countries.

    So QUIT IT…!!

  12. @ yamit82:

    Quote your religious maudlin utterances to Michael S. He laps it up and wants more…I don’t. And which Prince are you meaning… Prince Ali Baba, or Prince Kazooka….maybe Prince Constantinopopopolopolous.. generally known by his friends as “Pop-Pop”…you know the sound that kids make by putting a finger in their cheeks and popping it out quickly…They make the same sound by inflating spittle…..POP….!!

  13. @ Reader:

    Reader, stop talking your nonsense-like Yamit… He didn’t negotiate anything in secret, the US President was involved, US negotiators were there, as well as his own ministers and advisors.We’re damned lucky that Trump is President at this time and pushed for the Arab agreement. And this has been going on for several years, before present fruition, when the public can be informed. Any premature disclosure would have ruined it completely…Are you too blind to see THAT…??

    If you want an inside view of what’s going on politically you should become a politician, works your way up by brilliant achievements, be elected and eventually you’ll be in that coveted position that you desire. You’ll know EVERYTHING…but…
    you’ll have to keep those State Secrets SECRET… !!

    You really surprise me sometimes. Some guys, normally old enough to be sensible, really go off the beam when they get a half-opportunity.

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