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The future of peace with Israel

Oct 22,2018 - Last updated at Oct 22,2018

This week marks the 24th anniversary of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel. Needless to say, the feeling of disillusion on the part of Jordanians is beyond description. It is hardly possible to find a Jordanian who would see the peace treaty as a tangible achievement. All talks about the dividends of peace have lost their relevancy amid the failure of the peace treaty to make a felt difference.

Explicit in Jordanians’ comments is one theme: Israel does not seek just peace. In fact, Israelis on the whole have failed to internalise that it is not possible to insulate the bilateral relationship between Jordan and Israel from the unfinished peaceful track between Israel and the Palestinians. In the end, Jordanians see the peace treaty as a part of a comprehensive process that has all but failed.

On Sunday, His Majesty King Abdullah Tweeted, pronouncing his decision to terminate an agreement in the peace treaty that allows the Israeli government and farmers to use the Baqoura and Ghumar lands. In other words, the King made it perfectly clear that Baqoura and Ghumar are Jordanian lands and, therefore, they will be under full Jordanian sovereignty. It is not yet clear how the Israeli government is going to respond to this move. If Jordan is going to restore its sovereignty to these two areas, is this not a positive outcome from the peace treaty? Meaning, Israel has to acquiesce to the Jordanian demand, thanks to the peace treaty.

Let us get to the bottom of the issue, Jordanians’ anti-peace sentiments are driven by their perception that Israel would not offer a decent and just deal to the Palestinians. Indeed, even if the Jordanian-Israeli peace treaty worked well, the majority of Jordanians are skeptical of Israel’s intention toward the Palestinians. 

Israeli governments over the decades have shown a long-term trend of shifting in an obvious right-wing, pro-settlement direction, a tendency that has only deepened the Palestinian disillusionment with the notion of a two-state solution. Hence, the perpetuation of the status quo coupled with new demographic reality and the settlement activities will perhaps mean looking for a solution at the expense of Jordan.

Seen in this way, Jordan and Israel have opposing strategies that may put the two countries on a collision course in years to come. In fact, the continued contacts between officials from both sides and the complimentary words exchanged by the leaders of both countries are nothing but a smoke screen that conceals profound disagreements and mistrust.

It is hard to avoid the realisation that Jordan and Israel, despite having a peace treaty, have two different perspectives about what constitutes a stable solution to the conflict. On the whole, Jordanians view Israeli unwillingness to go ahead with the two-state solution and its stalling tactics as threatening to the Jordanian national security for years to come. In fact, Israeli policies, which, if left unchecked, will chip away at the prospects of the realisation of two-state paradigm. As important as it may sound, peace with Israel should not be taken for granted. Changes within Israel and the region may create different dynamics that could jeopardise the peace treaty.

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Comments

Agreed

Just another example of Arabs incapable of accepting Israel since its inception-even an "Isle of Peace" can't be maintained by a "peace treaty" with an Arab country. Borders don't matter, nor do any other issues, until fundamentally, Arab countries accept the fact that Israel is here and is here to stay. 70 years of violence perpetrated by Arabs against Israel has gotten them nowhere. Try the peaceful route, and start by honoring the little things to engender goodwill like the "Isle of Peace".

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