The Jordan-Israel Peace Treaty has reached its twenty-five year milestone. Unfortunately though, a quarter of a century of precious time has hardly brought this historic development to fruition. Since its inception, the treaty has remained sterile and barely compatible with the high hopes and the big expectations that embraced its birth.
There is no mystery here. For Israel, as were the Oslo Accords with the Palestinians earlier, the treaty with Jordan is merely a title: A convenient smoke screen for Israel to proceed with set plans for continued colonisation of Palestinian territories and the creation of irreversible facts on the ground. Israel just takes what suits its purposes from any agreement without consideration for other sides’ rights.
Regarding Jordan, Israel’s apparent assumption was that peace with the Hashemite Kingdom would neutralise the country’s unwavering commitment to the full realisation of Palestinian rights, hence freeing its hands for continued annihilation of such rights. That was absolutely wrong then, as it remains wrong now.
For just less than five decades of his rule, the late King Hussein struggled hard to bring peace and stability to our region, specifically by settling the Arab-Israeli conflict. His clear aim was always to reach a just, comprehensive and lasting peace for all the countries and all the peoples of the region. Accordingly, both King Hussein and his successor son King Abdullah left no doubt in anyone’s mind that the Jordanian treaty was meant to be part of that comprehensive peace: Not a separate peace.
Both Monarchs, indeed with the backing of the Jordanian people, wanted the treaty to facilitate and to speed up the process of the anticipated settlement; the restoration of lost justice wherever existing injustice needed to be redressed, the ending of Israel’s occupation and colonisation of all Arab lands that were occupied in June 1967 and the full recognition of Palestinian rights, including the Right of Return, as well as the right to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state, with Jerusalem as its capital in accordance with the provisions of international law and dozens of UN resolutions defining and recognising such rights.
During the past twenty five years, Israel has not given any consideration to such principles or acted rightly in observing its treaty obligations, neither with respect to the totality of the conflict, nor to the specific Jordanian terms of the treaty.
It is hard to comprehend how Israel would expect its insistence on keeping the occupation with all its cruel and oppressive practices, as well as the Gaza siege, to be conducive to creating warm peace with any Arab country, let alone with Jordan and its historic commitment to the Palestinian cause.
More difficult to understand is Israel’s flagrant and constant violations of the obligations of the treaty with Jordan as manifested in the persistent desecration of Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, Al Haram Al Shareef compound in particular, unmindful of the Hashemite custodianship of Muslim as well as Christian holy shrines in the occupied city of Jerusalem. No amount of repeated Jordanian protests and objections have impelled Israel to stop extremist elements, including government officials, incursions on Al Haram Al Shareef compound with official Israeli forces protection in full and heinous defiance of the Hashemite custodianship rights and the Jordanian people’s attachment.
Ultimate recklessness, however, was exercised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he offered a hero's welcome in his office to an Israeli security official of Israel’s embassy in Jordan for murdering two Jordanian citizens in cold blood in July 2017 as they were delivering furniture to an apartment attached to the Israeli embassy. Both the delivery carpenter and the apartment owner, who was there to offer help, were shot to death by the trigger-happy security guard without any understandable reason for the savage murder.
Neither this murderer, nor the other Israeli soldier who, in the same coldblooded manner, shot to death a Jordanian judge, Raed Zueiter in March 2014, whilst he was travelling with other Jordanian passengers in a bus across the bridge from Jordan to Israel, were brought to justice, nor even received any condemnation, as would have been the case by any decent law-abiding country. Israel's behaviour has reduced a promise of a regional peace to a no more than a signed but totally inactive document.
These are just a few examples of how careless and disrespectful Israel’s handling of the treaty with Jordan has been: Enough to address any question in anyone’s mind on Israel’s responsibility to kill any prospect of a reasonable and a just peace with the any Arab state.
Hasan Abu Nimah, a former diplomat, is a columnist in the Jordan Times.
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