Border with Jordan, Southern Golan Heights
Border with Jordan, Southern Golan HeightsFlash 90

At the beginning of July, a senior Jordanian official made an unexpected but obvious statement about the conflict from his nation’s standpoint in particular and the wider Arab world in general. “We have been defeated. We have been defeated militarily, as well as politically and diplomatically,” said former Jordanian minister and diplomat Ambassador Ahmad Masa'deh referring to Israel.

While these are unprecedented words, they are simply logical.

Seventy two years ago, in 1948, Jordan, then known as Transjordan, with arguably the strongest army in the region, British trained, invaded what would become the territory of the United Nations-mandated Jewish State, conquering wide swathes of territory and massacring inhabitants of Jewish towns and villages, like in Gush Etzion.

It seized Judea and Samaria and large parts of Jerusalem, expelling and ethnically cleansing these territories of their Jewish populations.

Even after it signed a ceasefire agreement with the newly established State of Israel, it continued to allow deadly Fedayeen attacks from its territory in a war of attrition to try and achieve what the traditional military method could not. However, these began to lessen after the 1956 Suez War, and came to a complete stop after the Jordanian army was routed in the Six Day War.

The 1973 Yom Kippur War was notable for an almost complete absence of a strong Jordanian force. King Hussein had sent some auxiliary forces to help the Syrians on the Golan, but later declassified U.S. documents show that the Jordanian participation was only a token to preserve the king’s status in the Arab world.

That would be the last time Jordanian and Israeli soldiers formerly faced each other on the battlefield, and in 1994 the two nations signed an historic peace agreement that held until today.

What this evolution demonstrates is that Jordan understood, albeit slowly, that the Jewish State was here to stay, its existence was permanent and this reality had to be faced. They had lost any time they tried to defeat it militarily, diplomatically, and even economically, during the infamous Arab League boycott.

In fact, Jordan had become so inured to the permanence of the Jewish State that it has worked together, even before the establishment of formal relations, to rid themselves of mutual enemies as they did in 1970 during Black September when King Hussein forced out the PLO and other sympathetic Palestinians from his territory.

This peace is certainly not the warmest and there have been many ups and downs, and strong disagreements. However, when the Jordanians are displeased with something Israel is doing, like the talk of applying Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria, it suffices with strongly-worded communiques, diplomatic entreaties and possibly the threat of the temporary removal of its ambassador.

While there is some talk of cancelling the peace agreement, these are empty threats and never come from an actual Jordanian decision-maker.

These are the actions of a nation and leadership that knows its war aims have been defeated. It now treats its neighbor like any other. It no longer seeks Israel’s destruction through any means, and a cold peace is certainly preferable to any type of conflict.

This is an excellent paradigm for how to achieve victory over the Palestinians, and end the Israel-Palestinian conflict once and for all.

While the Palestinians have been defeated several times over the years, whether during its attacks on airplanes around the world during the 1970s, routing it from Lebanon, or the campaign of suicide attacks. Israel has demonstrated that it could hold its line on each of these waves of attacks. The Palestinian Liberation Organization has never succeeded in terrorizing the people.

On the flip side, Israel has never delivered a victory blow that would convince it to give up its war aims to end the Jewish State. The fact that Palestinian leaders Mahmoud Abbas regularly talks of eventual victory, never recognizing Israel as the national homeland of the Jewish People, or been pushed to give up a single claim, demonstrates this amply.

It is clear that a negotiated peace has not worked. Palestinian leaders have been offered a state, half of Jerusalem, the entire territory of Judea and Samaria, and other concessions, multiple times throughout their 100-year war against Jewish sovereignty, but never acceded to end the conflict.

It still harbors hope of eventually defeating Israel.

They have never been forced to give up their war in the same way that Jordan was.

To finally end the conflict and to usher in peace, or at least the absence of war and conflict, the Palestinians have to be defeated like the Jordanians were. They have to be forced, through military, diplomatic or economic means, within legal and moral strictures, to understand that the war is over and they have lost.

When we hear Masa'deh’s words coming from a Palestinian leader we will finally know that the conflict is over.

Nave Dromi is an Israeli commentator and director of the Middle East Forum’s Israel Office.