Israeli Ties to Jordan, Egypt Look Positive after Diplomatic Moves

Israel swore in new ambassadors from Egypt and Jordan on Wednesday in moves that were more significant than they first appear. Questions about the long-term relations with both nations have been raised in light of the Arab Spring, which lead to an Islamist government in Egypt and antagonism towards Jordan’s West-friendly King Abdullah. Egypt and Jordan both have peace agreements with Israel.

The Jerusalem Post noted that Jordanian ambassador to Israel Walid Obeidat is the first such ambassador in two years. Other Israeli media reported that the Egyptian ambassador, Atef Salem, told President Shimon Peres he came with a peaceful mission.

Citing Israel Radio, the Israel Hayom newspaper said Salem told Peres that Egypt would keep its agreements with other nations. Egypt’s long-standing peace treaty has come into even more question since Islamist Mohammed Morsi won the presidency earlier this year.

Salem apparently sought to calm fears over Morsi’s plans for the nations’ bilateral ties. Israel Hayom noted Salem was appointed by Morsi to be the permanent ambassador to Israel. While standard for diplomacy, not every nation names a permanent ambassador to states with whom it has ties.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon served at the United Nations with the new Jordanian ambassador to Israel. Ayalon was quoted as giving Obeidat his congratulations and best wishes on the new appointment.

Said the Israeli Foreign Ministry statement regarding the Jordanian and Egyptian ambassador appointments, “The accreditation of the new ambassadors represents an important tier in Israel’s relationship with Egypt and Jordan. Their inauguration will enhance bilateral relations and will help to develop cooperation for peace and economic prosperity, for the mutual benefit of all parties.

“The regular relations between the countries will continue make an essential contribution to regional stability and to the promotion of peace in the Middle East.”

(By Joshua Spurlock,, October 18, 2012)