ANALYSIS: Why is Jordan's increasingly hostile to Israel?

Jordan demands Israeli mayors remove religious items, conducts military exercise against Israeli 'invasion.'

Yochanan Visser ,

King Abdullah II
King Abdullah II
Reuters

A serious incident on the Jordanian Israeli border near Eilat on Tuesday once again showed how Jordan has become a hostile entity for Israel and information provided by two members of the Jordanian opposition in exile sheds new light on the behavior of King Abdullah II.

The incident at the Jordanian-Israeli border near Eilat involved a large group of Israeli deputy-mayors who wanted to travel to the ancient city of Petra in Jordan but were humiliated by Jordanian border guards.

The Jordanians ordered the group to remove their yarmulkes, Tzitzit (fringed religious garments) and other Jewish symbols after which they confiscated them.

Most delegates refused to take the items off, however, after which the whole group decided to cancel the trip and to return to a hotel in Eilat.

This wasn’t the first time Jordanian border guards demanded Jews remove religious items but the timing of this incident indicated that relations with Jordan indeed hit an all-time low as King Abdullah II recently said during a visit to the United States.

Last week the Jordanian army conducted a large-scale drill involving F-16 warplanes and helicopters and the aim of the drill was simulating a war with Israel as became apparent from a report by the official Jordanian news agency Petra.

The aim of the exercise was “destroying the vanguard of the enemy and the bridges that can be used as crossing points,” according to Abdullah’s mouthpiece.

Over the past two months other incidents such as the arrest and trial of Konstatin Kotov, a Russian Israeli citizen, and the subsequent refusal to release the man after Israel made a concession and released two Jordanians who were held in custody for terrorist activity indicate something is changing in the relations between the two countries and not for the better.

Most observers say that the King’s behavior toward Israel should be understood as a sign of displeasure with Israel’s policies toward the Palestinian Arabs but members of the Jordanian opposition beg to differ.

Israeli analyst Amos Harel, for example, thinks the war simulating drill was a message of anger toward Israel over the plan to annex the Jordan Valley.

"Which mysterious, unnamed country is threatening Jordan from the west?" Harel wrote adding that “the exercise meshes with the clear anti-Israel rhetoric being heard recently in the Jordanian media."

It’s true that Abdullah expressed his anger over the Israeli plan to annex the Jordan Valley and warned it would have “major consequences” for Israeli Jordanian relations but Abed Almaala, the son of the late elder of elders of the large (1 million people) Bani Hassan tribe in Jordan and a member of the Jordanian opposition in exile says internal problems cause the King’s deliberate escalation of the hostilities against Israel.

Almaala said during an interview with Arutz 7 that respect for the King, who according to Jordanian law can’t be insulted ( read criticized) because he’s a descendant of the Prophet Mohammed, has disappeared.

Jordan nears bankruptcy Amaala said and pointed to the fact that virtually every Jordanian knows the King and his family (100 persons) spent $2 billion annually on their lavish lifestyle while the average Jordanian is living close or below the poverty line.

“The regime is done” it may take a few months or maximal a year or two before Abdullah will be forced out of his palace according to Almaala.

He effectively confirmed what the Israeli intelligence service Mossad reported to Yesha Council head Danny Dayan at the end of 2014: the Hashemite Kingdom “will be replaced within a generation.”

A recent video showing a demonstration against the King by members of the influential Bani Hassan tribe and videos about earlier demonstrations seem to support Almaala’s claim that the regime of King Abdullah is in danger.

The demonstrators angrily shouted that they would attack the King’s palace and that Abdullah and his family would not be able to sleep anymore while they threatened to kidnap tourists in order to deprive the King of his wealth.

Mudar Zahran, the leader of the Jordanian opposition in exile, said during an interview with Arutz 7 that “people don’t understand the magnitude of what is happening with the King.”

Abdullah is trying to contain a slowly increasing uprising against him according to Zahran and Israel and the United States are not paying enough attention to what’s happening.

The opposition is slowly “making the King bleed to death,” Zahran said adding that Israel should understand that Abdullah has become an enemy of the Jewish state.

The Jordanian ruler is also collaborating with Iran according to the Jordanian Palestinian leader.

The Iranians have a permanent intelligence team in Amman which is advising Abdullah on how to deal with the increasing demonstrations against Zahran claimed.

He also said that Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) which is exporting the revolution, had paid a secret visit to Jordan four months ago.

Israel will witness more Jordanian hostility Zahran predicted and it will only increase more as long as Abdullah’s rule is in danger.

“This man is a mutual enemy” the opposition leader said adding that he warned Israel already a decade ago about what is happening now.

He recalled that Abdullah was the only Arab leader who supported the nuclear deal with Iran and sent Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to Iraq where he became the leader of the local Al-Qaeda branch and led the battle against the US army in Fallujah.




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