His Majesty King Abdullah championed and led the opposition against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to annex parts of the West Bank to Israel, including the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea areas adjacent to the Jordanian borders with the Palestinian lands.
US President Joe Biden vehemently opposed the annexation. Moreover, about 180 elected legislative branch representatives and senators attended a webinar with the Jordanian Monarch when he explained why such an irrational move would derail the whole peace process and deepen extremism in the Middle East.
When the annexation plan was shelved, and rationality prevailed, the King and his country came out victorious. Not to be deterred, former US president Donald Trump and his aides were quick to seek restitution to the Israeli prime minster and to their infamous Deal of the Century.
Jordanian King Abdullah warns their neighbour Israel against annexation of the Jordanian valley. I ask what has Israel state become. pic.twitter.com/BDeeM65aYH— David (@David82362825) May 16, 2020
Normalisation of four Arab countries with Israel followed, starting with the UAE and Bahrain, then Sudan and Morocco. The King was not to be deterred and his immediate contacts led to the UAE applying pressure on Israel to stop the annexation backpedaling. Now that the Democrats are wielding the power in Washington D.C, the King has been empowered as a reliable ally to the USA. The shenanigans which Trump and Pompeo-likes in the Middle East targeted the King’s potential influence on American foreign policy, and rendered his contacts with the American decision-makers less frequent.
BREAKING: King Abdullah II called Sec of State Pompeo today to reaffirm Jordan's "steadfast position" on Palestinian rights (against Israeli annexation)— Matthew Petti (@matthew_petti) July 9, 2020
Pompeo made a statement on the call that doesn't mention annexation, but we got Jordan's own statementhttps://t.co/0BpYqRzztG
Now that President Biden has been confirmed and he is well-seated in the saddle, many leaders in the Middle East started scurrying for a way to adjust their relations with the new administration and refitting their relations with Jordan. Netanyahu, who banked too far on Trump’s reelection, lost his appeal in Washington, D.C. to the pleasure of his frustrated political rivals in Israel.
Inside Israel, there is a continuous fragmentation of political parties, whether Likud, White and Blue or Lapid’s Party Yesh Atid. New alliances are formed and political realism that borders on political betrayal is already in active motion. So much so that Netanyahu is seeking to sway Palestinian Israelis to join his coalition.
The annexation challenge further elevated Jordan’s stature. Not only that, but the appointment of William Burns to the Central Intelligence Agency, and at least three Americans of Arab origin in the White House, helps foster the bilateral relations.
His Majesty King Abdullah II receives Egypt FM Sameh Shoukry, France FM Jean-Yves Le Drian, and European Union Special Representative for the Middle East Peace Process Susanna Terstal, and reaffirms #Jordan’s unwavering position on the Palestinian cause pic.twitter.com/kxPTEXgvCi— RHC (@RHCJO) September 24, 2020
Jordan does not confuse political opportunities with diplomatic expediency. Jordan has long-standing honourable principles which the country adheres to. Examples are peace and justice, pro-people development, inter-faith dialogue, respect of human rights, contributions to world peace with large peace keeping troops and fighting extremism and terrorism, and maintaining a human face in dealing with millions of refugees.
The country withstood many tests whether regionally or internationally and managed always to commit to its obligations unfettered and undeterred.
For all of these reasons, the clouds which may keep our lights from shinning are optimistically viewed as potential opportunities for badly needed rain.
We will not lose our heads in order to indulge in petty vengefulness or momentary deceitful pleasure. We want to prosper and live in peace with our neighbours and the world community. We want to be ready for our future challenges. That is what we are able to do best.
Jawad Al Anani held many ministerial portfolios in Jordan. He is presently a columnist in The Jordan Times.
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