Israeli annexation: How will Jordan respond? | Middle East Eye28 Maggio 2020
“If Israel really annexed the West Bank valley in July, it would lead to a massive conflict with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.”
This was the unprecedented threat by Jordan’s King Abdullah II during an interview earlier this month with German newspaper Der Spiegel.Jordan’s King Abdullah warns of ‘massive conflict’ if Israel annexes West Bank
As the unity government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is gearing up to begin formally annexing parts of the occupied West Bank along the border with Jordan, the neighbouring kingdom is faced with the heavy question of how to respond to the move.
There is no clear script for the Jordanian monarch, as the kingdom finds itself having to balance its political and diplomatic positions with more pragmatic concerns.
Options on the table
In his interview with Der Spiegel, King Abdullah stated that his country was considering “all options” in response to Israeli annexation – a move deemed illegal under international law.
“I do not want to make any threats and create an atmosphere of controversy, but we are considering all options… We agree with many countries in Europe and with the international community that the law of the fittest should not apply in the Middle East,” he said.
Following the 1948 war, Jordan ruled over the West Bank until Israel occupied the Palestinian territory in 1967. Jordan remains the custodian of Muslim and Christian holy sites in occupied East Jerusalem until this day.
The announcement by the unity government of Netanyahu and former rival Benny Gantz – who will serve as premier following Netanyahu’s 18-month tenure in the role – that it was planning to annex the Jordan Valley has become a serious dilemma for Jordan.
Encompassing roughly a third of the West Bank, the Jordan Valley runs all along the border with Jordan. Should the territory be annexed into Israel, this would mark a possible new threat to Jordan’s national security.
‘We will not deviate from this issue and we will not forget the Palestinian cause’
– Amjad Adaileh, Jordan minister of media affairs
“The king’s statements are clear: the annexation of the Jordan Valley will cause a clash between Israel and Jordan,” Jordanian Minister of Media Affairs Amjad Adaileh told Middle East Eye.
“We will not deviate from this issue and we will not forget the Palestinian cause. Our position is clear and has been well articulated by King Abdullah II.”
But what kind of action did the king have in mind? As Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas has threatened to fully suspend its adherence to the 1993 Oslo Accords, some politicians and military analysts are suggesting that Jordan suspend its 1994 Wadi Araba peace treaty with Israel.
For Major General Mamoun Abu Nawwar, a retired Jordanian air force pilot, “Jordan has no option except to abrogate the peace treaty with Israel if it annexes the Jordan Valley and settlements.”
“Jordan is in a difficult position and annexation would be an undeclared declaration of war on Jordan,” he told MEE. “I expect that it might be best if Jordan ends the Wadi Araba treaty, and this will mean the cancellation of security, military and economic agreements as well.
“This would be a big geopolitical shift for Jordan within the balance of power in the region.”
Abu Nawwar rejected Israeli claims that annexing the Jordan Valley was necessary to defend itself from outside aggression.
“Israel’s justification that it needs the Jordan Valley to host early warning equipment is not accurate,” he said. “Iran and even the Houthi (rebels) in Yemen are able to attack the heart of Israel with cruise missiles without such warning sites stopping them.”
Meanwhile, Jordanian expert in Israeli affairs Ayman Hunaiti told MEE that Jordan could take the legal route and go to the Israeli High Court. “This could be part of a move by Jordan,” he said…
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