Jordan is set to appoint a new ambassador to Israel for the first time in years.
According to a report published Saturday in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper, the Hashemite Kingdom will finally fill the post that has remained vacant for more than two years.
The new ambassador, Walid Obeidat, has long served as a consultant to Jordan's foreign ministry and is a professional diplomat.
The new appointment comes amid new threats to the monarchy faced by King Abdullah II by the country's sole legitimate opposition party, the Muslim Brotherhood, which according to intelligence sources quoted by DEBKAfile has called on the king to transform his government to a constitutional monarchy, rendering him essentially powerless.
With more than 120,000 Syrian refugees encamped in the northern part of the country and more pouring across the border by the thousands every day, plus a majority population of more than 70 percent Palestinian Authority Arabs, the king can ill afford to alienate the strong Western-backed ally - Israel - that he has on his western border.
This situation mirrors somewhat the threat faced by Abdullah's father in September 1970. At that time, tens of thousands of Arab refugees who had settled in Jordan after fleeing Israel following the 1948 and 1967 wars, came under the banner of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which then tried to overthrow the Amman government. In response, King Hussein slaughtered those who had threatened his regime – a time hence dubbed “Black September -- and expelled the PLO and thousands of other Arabs from the country, deporting them to Lebanon.” It was Israel's troops who quietly provided military protection from outside foreign intervention to the king's soldiers as they carried out their grisly task, according to historical documents.
During his speech at the United Nations General Assembly this week, King Abdullah II blamed Israel's presence in Judea and Samaria, and Jewish construction in those areas, for the setbacks in Jordan's attempts to mediate between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. But the truth is far more complex. PA leaders had little interest in reaching a final status agreement at a time when they were preparing instead for a unilateral statehood bid at the United Nations – one which ultimately failed.
Jordan's former Ambassador Ali Al-Ayed, meanwhile, was recalled back to Amman in 2009 as a protest against Israel's mini-war against Gaza's terrorist rulers, the Hamas terror organization.
Since that time, ties between the two countries have been delicate.
While making Saturday's announcement, King Abdullah II also took the opportunity to criticize the Jewish State for the second time in less than a month. Al-Hayat reported that the Jordanian King sees Netanyahu's conduct as a "right-wing refusal of the peace-process." He blamed Israel's prime minister for the deadlock with the Palestinian Authority over a final status agreement, and noted that Obeidat had been appointed to his role as an envoy to Israel a year ago. However, he was held in Amman to protest Israel's policies toward the PA.
Just a few weeks ago, Abdullah claimed that Israel has been sabotaging his country's efforts at developing a nuclear energy program – an accusation Jerusalem firmly denied.
It is still not yet clear when Jordan's envoy will arrive to begin his duties at his embassy in Israel.