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Growing Concern in Israel Over Jordan

The situation in the Hashemite Kingdom is “delicate,” say Israeli officials, who are monitoring the situation.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 9/14/2011, 1:52 PM

The situation in Jordan is becoming “delicate” say Israeli officials who are monitoring events in the Hashemite Kingdom. Sources in Jerusalem say the government of King Abdullah II may be headed for a major shakeup.

Jordan, which signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, recently tightened security around the Israeli Embassy in Amman following heavy violence that resulted in the evacuation of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo.

“The situation in the Middle East does not allow for irresponsible moves from the Palestinians, steps that will fail to bring security, peace and a Palestinian state. What they will bring is a lack of stability,” the source told the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Yediot Acharonot.

Regardless, the king's firm ties with the United States and the country's joint interests with Israel will be helpful, said the source. “There is no need to get worked up. Calm must be kept in the area, and we must continue to monitor the events,” the source added.

Two days ago, Abdullah told reporters that the current situation in the Arab world is weakening Israel.

“Jordan and Palestine's future are stronger than Israel today, and it is the Israeli who is afraid now,” he said. “When I was in the United States, an Israeli intellectual talked to me and said that what is going on in the Arab world is in the best interest of Israel; but I answered him and said, 'On the contrary, your situation today is harder than ever before.'”

One day earlier, however, the Hashemite monarch told a local think tank, “Jordan is Jordan, and Palestine is Palestine, and our identity is Arab Islamic – and we know our way to protect Palestine's future and our rights in Jerusalem, and the refugees' right to return.

“We support the Palestinian people's right to a Palestinian state; our political stance did not and will not change, and the alternative homeland issue must not be part of the discussion,” he added.

Abdullah was referring to recommendations by nationalists in Israel that Jordan be the focus of efforts to create a Palestinian homeland, inasmuch as nearly 80 percent of that country's population is comprised already of Palestinian Authority Arabs.

Abdullah has vehemently opposed this option; his dedication to blocking the PA bid for statehood recognition at the United Nations is based on a legal opinion by Oxford University experts stating that such recognition would immediately nullify any “right of return” for Arabs who left Israel during its defensive wars and their millions of descendants. This would make them eye Jordan as a way to enlarge the Palestinian entity. Those generations were never granted citizenship and absorbed into their Arab host countries. Rather, they were instead always forced by their Arab “brothers” to remain apart in “refugee camps.”