Troubled waters between Israel and Jordan

By Liat Collins, JPOST

On one – very superficial – level I was sorry that the planned showdown between maverick Likud MK Oren Hazan and Jordanian parliamentarian Yahya Mohammad Alsaud, who has a history of punch-throwing, did not take place. We all need a little light relief when times are tense.

Yet, Israel cannot ignore the sensitivity of the site particularly for the Hashemites, struggling to keep their power in a country where the majority of the population is Palestinian and where there has been a huge influx of more than a million refugees from Syria.

[..] Nonetheless, the gap between the two sides today seems wider than it has been for a long time.

[..] On one occasion I accompanied a group of Knesset members that hit an unexpected difficulty. The Jordanians did not want to allow the Israeli security detail to continue carrying weapons. It took several hours for the problem to be resolved. Ultimately, King Hussein issued a statement that he personally guaranteed the Israeli delegation’s safety. The king’s word was good enough to make us feel safe.

That feeling of security, guaranteed by the Hashemite monarch, no longer exists. King Abdullah II, Hussein’s son, cannot take even his own safety for granted.

Journalists covering the Amman embassy incident received a string of advice from Jordanian officials which included hiding their Israeli identity.

I remember the visit by King Hussein to offer condolences in person to the families of the seven Israeli schoolgirls killed by Jordanian soldier Ahmed Daqamseh at the Naharayim “Island of Peace” in 1997. The image of the king kneeling to talk to families sitting on the ground in a traditional custom of mourning was poignant and powerful. Daqamseh was released from prison in March after serving his 20-year sentence and received a hero’s welcome.

IN A Facebook Live video broadcast by Jordanian outlet Jfra News, Alsaud said, “Jordan has dignity and we either live in dignity or we die.”

Never underestimate the destructive potential of placing honor above all. As always, there is a need to find ways to strengthen the moderates: Those who want to live with dignity rather than die – or cause the deaths of others.

It’s hard to take Alsaud seriously, but he is helping create the noxious environment in which decent people are scared to speak out. Officials I met and interviewed at the time of the Jordan peace agreement are no longer willing for their names to appear in the Israeli press.

And that signifies a danger on both sides of the Jordan.

[..] Amid the hype, Hazan’s more important message was lost. Alsaud ranted that “… the shoe of any Arab and Muslim is better than him [Hazan] and his rogue entity, which has no origin and no religion.” Hazan had something else to say, something that should be conveyed in a more serious way: “I wanted to talk to [Alsaud] and explain to him that, at the end of the day, Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan…”

In February, I reported on a talk to the Jerusalem Press Club by Hillel Frisch, a professor of political studies and Middle East studies at Bar-Ilan University and a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA). He discussed what is often referred to as the “Jordanian option” – that instead of fixating on the creation of an independent Palestinian state, it would be better to expand the Palestinian links to the Hashemite Kingdom, with which the Palestinians share a language, religion and culture.

The problem is that I have yet to find a Jordanian, on- or off-record, who supports the idea.

There are increasing pressures by “anti-normalization” groups and Islamists in Jordan, but the monarch, and many of his decent, ordinary citizens, recognize the need to preserve the peace treaty with Israel for the sake of mutual security and prosperity.

August 5, 2017 | 6 Comments »

Leave a Reply

6 Comments / 6 Comments

  1. @ adamdalgliesh:

    You should have learned by now that the “Arab Street” is as changeable as the weather, it can be roiled up to a fury by someone spitting accidentally towards Mecca, or by paid agitators, and so on and so forth. It can also be pacified and “led by the nose” by speeches about matters that please them, and as far as the Mudar plan goes, I believe him rather than your prognosis, based on this mediocre lack-of-facts article. The details Zahran describes in his plan is like a “torah” on how to pattern one’s future life; it shows exactly what has been happening there, and I defy any imagination, even an Arab one to concoct what we have already known about the conditions there from other sources.

    Such a detailed step by step Plan cannot be concocted from whole cloth, it obviously has had the input and involvement of experienced and dedicated people.. He expects serious American support, and if this eventuates, this Plan will succeed. There will always be dissidents, and when they see that they can have their day in court, and be judged fairly, opposition will subside to manageable proportions. It cannot be otherwise even accounting for the vagaries of the Arab psyche.

    We ourselves have known for a long time, that Jordan exists only by means of the support of Israel, and the soft backing of the US. So his Plan fits in well with what we already have known for years about the fragility of the cross-river teetering kleptocracy..

  2. This article explains why the Zahran-Fritch “Jordan is Palestine” plan has no chance. There is no Jordanian support for it. On the other hand, there is massive Jordanian support for war and terrorism against Israel.

  3. @ Edgar G.:

    I have had this means of defrauding the system directly from an Arab with whom I was friendly when I lived in Israel. I was not surprised as I knew that the YESHA Arabs had a huge business going in “ration cards” or “residence cards”, often walking around with bunches of thrm protruding from each pair of fingers, like “knuckledusters” in a way. I saw them myself.

    I had heard of this system years before when I first arrived in British Columbia and became friendly with the son of a large Chinese Restaurant in New Westminster, B.C. He said that his people would have names like “Xing Pau Lee” and the next day “Lee Pau Xing” or Pau Lee Xing”.and so on. They worked this scam for years, until some of them became quite rich. The ignorant white men never knew how they did it other than by hard work, which they also applied themselves to..

    My very first job there was for the Immigration Dept, as a kitchen help-which meant everything dirty, because they were preparing to the Hungarians from their Revolution, about which I read daily bulletins on the ship I crossed on. I became the unofficial Interpreter, through a sort of bastard pidgeon German -Yiddish, as many spoke German. They couldn’t eat the food, and thought white bread was cake. They wanted goulash of course, which they never got, and the Kitchen Boss a lazy scoundrel named Rapanos, long retired from a family restaurant, would sit on his tuccas all day with his legs on a desk, snoozing, Just waking up to taste the muck they were dishing out. Me, I lived on raw oatmeal, raisins, bread, hard boiled eggs and raw cabbage, being kosher. The most horrible 6 weeks I ever spent. Was fired because I told Rapanos that he was a dirty, lazy ruffian, who was cheating his employers.

    The first few days, when the place was still empty, I slept in one of the clees thy would bung the undocumented Chinese smuggled in folks. The skimpy mattresses stank like hell, so I cleaned the floor and slept on my very long, warm overcoat. With my first week’s pay, $26, I got a $5 room T G.

  4. I sppose that this “expanding the links of the “Palestinians” to the Hashemite Kingdom” rubbish, means that Jordan takes over a large part of Eretz yisrael. That we hand over our heartland to the Mamzerim.

    Well, that is a no-go area for me, if indeed this is the intended thrust. The way they came in is the way they should go, pile back over the Jordan like they walked in, in the early 30s when they came looking for work, and again in 1947-8 when they came looking for the the handouts that UNWRA which had already lost control, was giving to all and sundry.

    It didn’t take them long to find that on Monday they could sign on for the freebies as “Abdullah ibn Ibrahim”,and Tuesday as “Ibrahim Ibn Abdullah” and etc and etc…..