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Jordan is changing, which is what it needs now

Jordan's King Abdullah II looks on as he sits on a panel during the 2019 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, at the King Hussein Convention Centre at the Dead Sea, in Jordan on 6 April, 2019 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images]
Jordan's King Abdullah II looks on as he sits on a panel during the 2019 World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, at the King Hussein Convention Centre at the Dead Sea, in Jordan on 6 April, 2019 [KHALIL MAZRAAWI/AFP/Getty Images]

Jordan has been experiencing tough days which have led it to the current economic crisis given the absence of any Arab support. Instead, the Arabs’ dollars are being set on fire in crushing wars here and there. Moreover, the Arabs and Israel are fighting from the same trench to pressure Jordan to accept the deal of the century. While Arab support is absent, the trade between Jordan and Israel has reduced to 65 per cent of what it was ten years ago.

It has become known nowadays that the difficult situation in Jordan is due to its rejection of the deal of the century, an American-Israeli peace project that aims to eliminate and liquidate all issues, including Jerusalem and the refugees. Instead, the agreement seeks to resolve these issues at the expense of the Jordanian identity and interests, and of course, at the expense of the Palestinian people.

Jordan is aware that it is engaging in the most difficult and most important confrontation since 1967, and therefore it has rejected all the generous offers it received. Such proposals include paying off its debt for the entire year, amounting to $40 billion in exchange for agreeing to the deal of the century. This is because it will ultimately mean that Jordan is selling Jerusalem, as well as Jordan itself, for this amount, making Jerusalem an Israeli city and Jordan, a homeland for refugees. The Palestinian cause will end with this in the face of the Arab, Israel, and American pressure, which Jordan is forced to confront. Jordan sees no other way of facing such pressure except by making a change, and this change has become apparent in several Jordanian measures over the past few days. The most important of such measures is the signing of several agreements with Qatar in the military and economic fields during a visit by a senior-level Qatari delegation.

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This means that Jordan has indeed begun looking for new allies in the region. Moreover, as of the beginning of 2019, King Abdullah II visited Turkey and met with Erdogan, as well as visited Tunisia, the cradle of the Arab Spring, and met with President Essebsi. He even sent a rare congratulatory telegram to the Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani and visited Iraq, which is the first visit in 10 years. Jordan’s most recent notable action occurred on a national level, as King Abdullah II met with Muslim Brotherhood MPs, which is the first meeting between Muslim Brotherhood leaders and the King in over seven years.

This move has several implications for the countries pressuring Jordan. Significant developments are occurring in Jordan, which is experiencing a historically important turning point. However, the most significant event has not happened yet, i.e. ending the peace agreement with Israel, known as the Wadi Araba Treaty, completely and withdrawing from it. If the Israelis, along with with the Americans, the mediator and treaty guarantor, want to change the status of Jerusalem and the status of the refugees, then they would be violating the treaty’s main clauses. The treaty stipulates that “Israel respects the present special role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem,” and “When negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the historic Jordanian role in these shrines.” The agreement also clearly states that Jordan must be involved in any solution related to the refugees, as it hosts the largest number of refugees since the Nakba in Palestine in 1948.

Jordan’s response to the deal of the century should be nothing less than completely withdrawing the peace agreement with Israel, as it cannot continue to adhere to an agreement that does not preserve Jordan’s main interests. This along with the continued loss of the economic benefits of this treaty, which means that the deal is gradually losing all economic and political value and benefit.

This article first appeared in Arabic in Al-Quds Al-Arabi on 22 April 2019

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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