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Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty Reaches 25th Anniversary, Offering Hope and Caution

October 27, 2019 Peace and Conflict

Israeli flags. Illustrative. By Joshua Spurlock

The peace treaty between Israel and Jordan achieved its 25th birthday on Saturday, and the comments—or lack thereof—marking the anniversary offer both hope for peace in the region and lessons of caution. The treaty, signed between the neighbors in 1994, is “historic” according to a Twitter post by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “This peace has since enhanced security & prosperity for our peoples,” tweeted the Ministry.

On the other side, a former Jordanian Ambassador to the Palestinian Authority stood up for the treaty against detractors in his own country. The Jerusalem Post cited an opinion article in the Jordanian government-run al-Rai newspaper in which Amb. Ziad Khazer al-Majali recalled the treaty was termed a “gift” by then-Jordanian King Hussein, a signatory of the accord. Al-Majali also criticized those in the Jordanian government that oppose the deal and urged that hate not be allowed to “poison the atmosphere of moderation and love of peace that we enjoy.”

Despite those positive sentiments, it stood out who didn’t say anything at all about the accord on the anniversary—the leaders of Israel and Jordan.

Neither the Jordanian Royal Hashemite Court’s Twitter feed, the English news pages of the official website of King Hussein or the Petra News website expressed any comments on the anniversary of the treaty with Israel. On the Israeli side, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not make any comments either on the historic date, and any reference to the anniversary was conspicuously absent from his published comments to the Israeli cabinet on Sunday.

The Times of Israel reported that neither country had plans to significantly mark the occasion. The report cited numerous factors that had cooled the relationship, including disagreements over the Temple Mount and an incident in which an Israeli security guard was attacked in Jordan and killed his Arab assailants. Furthermore, Israel is not as accepted in Jordan as it should be two-and-a-half decades after peace was reached. The article raised doubts about the permanence of paper treaties when additional peace progress is lacking.

However, the peace accord still offers hope. Jason Greenblatt, who has served as the Middle East special negotiator for US President Donald Trump, tweeted on Saturday, “The efforts of our 2 allies—Israel and Jordan—to find common ground and work to build a more peaceful and mutually beneficial relationship for their people is important. Hopefully this will also spread to the rest of the region.”

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also celebrated the peace treaty. In a statement released by the State Department, Pompeo called the treaty “an agreement that began a tradition of peaceful and respectful cooperation that continues today.

Said Pompeo, “We take this opportunity to praise the enduring efforts of our two allies and friends to find common ground and build a productive and stable relationship for the mutual benefit of the Jordanian and Israeli people.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, October 27, 2019)

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