Jordan's PM: Peace treaty with Israel endangered due to Israel's "unilateral measures"

Israel's "unilateral measures" to blame for imperiling the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, says Jordanian PM

Tags: Jordan
Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Omar Razzaz
Omar Razzaz

In an interview with CNN, Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz stated that his country's peace treaty with the State of Israel was in jeopardy. When pressed, he specified that Israel's "unilateral measures" and the Israeli government's "violation of the sanctity of Muslim and Christian endowments in Jerusalem" were responsible for the friction between the two countries, adding that diplomatic relations are now at their lowest ebb since the peace treaty was signed.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed a peace treaty with the State of Israel in 1994, following almost a decade of negotiations. Israel's Foreign Minister at the time, Shimon Peres, first made contact with King Hussein in 1987, but Jordan was initially reluctant to commit to a signed settlement, deterred at least partially by the fate of Egypt's President Anwar Sadat, who had been assassinated following his signing of a peace treaty with Israel eight years previously, although this was far from the only factor involved in the assassination.

Nonetheless, Egypt's new President Hosni Mubarak encouraged King Hussein to continue negotiations, and US President Bill Clinton also put substantial pressure on the Jordanian leader to come to an agreement. In the summer of 1994, the two sides met in Washington D.C. and committed to ending their state of belligerence and to seeking "an end to bloodshed and sorrow." Several months later, the treaty was signed in Israel's Arava Valley, not far from the border with Jordan.

The treaty's provisions included Jordan's acceptance of the border between the two states running down the Jordan Valley, although "without prejudice to the status of [that] territory," thereby leaving the door open to the creation of a future Palestinian entity between the border with Jordan and Israel's pre-1967 borders. Full diplomatic relations were also established between the two countries, and Israel committed to "respect the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem," a role which dated back to the period of the British Mandate.

In the years subsequent to the signing of the treaty, the issue of the Holy Shrines has been periodically raised, most critically in relation to the Temple Mount. Even after Israel captured the entirety of Jerusalem during the Six-Day War in 1967, it chose to uphold the pre-existing status quo which granted Jordan's royal family a special role in administering the site via the Islamic Waqf, which is funded by Jordan. As such, Jordan often protests what it views as encroachments such as quasi-official visits to the Temple Mount by Israeli lawmakers.