Jordan Treads Carefully in the Midst of Israel-Hamas Conflict

Jordan’s leadership is caught in a dilemma due to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The Hashemite kingdom must balance its public opinion and geopolitical interests, particularly in maintaining its ties with Israel.

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The Israel-Jordan peace treaty, established in 1994, has maintained a mostly peaceful border and fostered collaborative projects. However, the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas has led to public criticism from Jordan’s leadership. Jordan has taken actions such as recalling its ambassador from Tel Aviv, requesting the Israeli ambassador’s departure, and declining to sign the “Water for Electricity” treaty.

Despite public pressure, it is unlikely that Israeli-Jordanian relations will be jeopardized, according to Dr. Shay Har-Zvi, a former acting director general at the Israeli Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

Public Opinion in Jordan

The public in Jordan holds anti-Israeli sentiments, putting pressure on King Abdullah II to change the country’s attitude toward Israel. However, behind the scenes, the king shares Israel’s interest in eliminating Hamas, explained Har-Zvi.

JORDAN’S KING ABDULLAH II listens during a meeting in Amman in May. (credit: ALEX BRANDON/POOL VIA REUTERS)

If Hamas survives the conflict, it could indicate the success of the radical axis, led by Iran and supported by Qatar and Russia, against the US-led camp, according to Har-Zvi.

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Hazem Al Dmour, General Manager at STRATEGIECS, a Jordanian think tank, emphasized Jordan’s measured approach in managing the conflict. He stated that Jordan is taking steps based on its interests and risks, relying on deliberate policies to convey its messages without exacerbating the crisis.

Containing the Crisis

At this stage, Jordan sees the need to avoid an expansion of the crisis and is acting accordingly to protect regional interests, Al Dmour explained.

He also noted that US mediation has been beneficial for both Israel and Jordan in times of crisis. However, the breaking point, as clarified by Jordan officially, revolves around crossing well-known red lines, particularly the displacement of Palestinians from their lands.

Despite challenges, it is likely that Israeli-Jordanian ties will remain intact, with both nations benefitting from their relationship with the United States. However, the actions taken by the Israeli government could endanger this relationship, especially regarding the displacement of Palestinians from their lands.

Overall, despite the complex dilemma faced by Jordan’s leadership, it is clear that the country is carefully navigating the conflict to protect its interests and avoid further escalation.