The quarter-century mark of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty has passed with little fanfare, as key constituencies in both countries question its core premises. The Trump administration’s policies and peace plan sharpen doubts. Reviving the 1994 deal’s spirit is important for Israel, Jordan and the region.
Originally published in The New York Review of Books
Deaths of COVID-19 patients due to lack of critical medical supplies prompted health minister’s resignation and sparked protests. At least six patients 13 March died due to oxygen shortage in COVID-19 ward in hospital in Al Salt town, north west of capital Amman, prompting health minister to resign same day. Protests 14, 15 March erupted in Salt as well as Irbid, Karak, Aqaba, and Amman cities over economic impact of lockdowns and pandemic emergency laws; police used tear gas against protesters and detained over 200 in total. Police 24 March broke up protests held to mark 10th anniversary of Arab Spring pro-democracy protests, detaining dozens of activists. Meanwhile, tensions surfaced with Israel. Israeli PM Netanyahu’s first public visit to United Arab Emirates(UAE)was cancelled on 11 March after Jordan refused to approve Netanyahu’s flight path from Amman to UAE capital Abu Dhabi, following Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah’s cancellation of planned visit to Jerusalem’s Holy Esplanade compound over dispute with Israel regarding security arrangements at site; Netanyahu in turn ordered Israel’s airspace closed to flights from Jordan – direct violation of 1994 Israeli-Jordan peace accord; however, move ultimately reversed before being implemented. FM Ayman Safadi 21 March publicised new military agreement signed with U.S. in Jan, allowing free entry of forces, aircraft and vehicles onto Jordanian territory.
As the Syrian regime masses its forces to recapture the country’s south west from the opposition, another humanitarian disaster looms. The U.S., Russia and Jordan, which brokered a south-western ceasefire in 2017, should urgently extend that truce in preparation for a broader settlement.
The season of Arab uprisings has not engulfed Jordan, but nor has it entirely passed the nation by. Pillars of the regime are showing cracks, and it ultimately will have to either undertake sweeping change or experience far-reaching turmoil.
A refugee crisis was feared before the coalition invasion of Iraq in 2003, but it came later than anticipated, and on a greater scale.
The horrifying 9 November 2005 suicide attacks against three hotels in Amman – with a toll of 60 dead and over 100 wounded – drove home two important messages.
This briefing is one of a series of occasional ICG briefing papers and reports that will address the issue of political reform in the Middle East and North Africa. The absence of a credible political life in most parts of the region, while not necessarily bound to produce violent conflict, is intimately connected to a host of questions that affect its longer-term stability:
In successive incidents over eight days in November 2002, the city of Maan in the south of Jordan was the scene of intense armed clashes between security forces and elements of the Maani population.
Jordanian and Israeli elders are sounding the alarm, hoping current coalition formation talks in Israel would decisively redraw the direction and rescue the [1994 peace] treaty.
We are seeing a dramatic crisis between Jordan and Israel which makes de facto joint management [of the Holy Esplanade in Jerusalem] much more complicated.
Originally published in allhayat
Originally published in Le Figaro