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Israel analysts warn of ‘increasingly chilly’ relations with Jordan

September 26, 2019 at 11:08 am

Jordanian protests Israel gas deal in Jordan on 21st October 2016. [Apaimages]

Israeli analysts have warned of “increasingly chilly” relations with Jordan, with no official events planned to mark the 25th anniversary of the Jordan-Israel peace treaty next month.

According to a report in Haaretz, “among the issues dividing the two countries are Jordan’s decision not to renew Israel’s 25-year lease on the enclaves of Naharayim and Tzofar, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent vow to annex the Jordan Valley if reelected.”

Yesterday, the Institute for National Security Studies hosted an event to mark the anniversary, with Foreign Ministry officials in attendance but without senior representation from either the Israeli government or Jordanian embassy.

Haaretz noted that “the mood at the conference was pessimistic, and much of the focus was on the hurdles that have arisen since the agreement was signed.”.

READ: Israel calls on citizens not to travel to Egypt, Jordan and Turkey 

Official material for the conference described the Israeli-Jordanian relationship as “a cold peace, in which the mutual benefits of cooperation and the many common state interests are not fully understood by the Israeli and Jordanian publics.”

Furthermore, the conference also featured a “secret panel”, whose members included two former Jordanian generals “who asked not to be identified by name and whose remarks could not be quoted or broadcast”.

“The fact that Jordanians fear to come to Israel openly epitomizes the state of the diplomatic relationship, 25 years after it began,” the report noted.

The conference identified a number of “sources of the friction”, including the ongoing occupation of the Palestinian territories, as well as conflict at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

Haaretz highlighted a 2017 incident in which “an Israeli guard at the embassy in Amman shot and killed two Jordanians”. While the guard said he opened fire after being attacked with a screwdriver, “Jordanian newspaper Al Ghad reported that Israel paid around $5 million to the two families.”