The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan at the present time has not only a cold peace with Israel, but one might even consider it an unfriendly “peace.” Jordan is unlikely to break the peace treaty with Israel, since Israel provides the kingdom with protection from hostile elements, including radical Islamist takeover or an Iranian initiated coup. In 1970, Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) terrorists attempted to takeover Jordan, and Syrian forces were ready to finish the job by invading Jordan. It was Israel’s mobilization of forces that kept the Syrians at bay. Jordan also depends on Israel, providing it with 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water from its Mediterranean coast, as well as gas. For this drought plagued nation, Israel’s water is a lifesaver. Nevertheless, with most of the Jordan’s population (about two-thirds) being Palestinians, including King Abdullah II’s wife, Queen Rania Al-Yassin, Abdullah, unlike his father, is far more beholden to the Palestinians majority, and thus, far more militant vis-à-vis the interests of the Palestinians in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria).
Palestinian journalist Ramzy Baroud is a media consultant and author. He serves as editor of the Palestine Chronicle. In an opinion piece in the Jordan Times titled What will Happen After the ICJ Delegitimizes Israel’s Occupation of Palestine, he makes the argument that Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria is illegal, which chimes along with Jordan’s less pronounced position. Baroud wrote (January 16, 2023), “According to the official UN news website, there are currently nearly 700,000 “illegal” Jewish settlers. The Israeli NGO “Peace Now” says that these Jewish settlers live in 145 “illegal” colonies in the “occupied” West Bank, in addition to 140 settlement outposts, many of which are likely to be made official by the new government. “
The short answer to Baroud is “nothing will happen” if the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in Der Hague passes the verdict Baroud anticipates. Firstly, Israel and the US have not ratified their membership when the International Criminal Court was established on July 1, 2002, under the Rome Stature, just as Israel refrained from membership in the rogue UN Human Rights Council. The court has no jurisdiction to enforce anything pertaining to Israel, and its judges reflect the anti-Israel views of the UN General Assembly whose majority members are antisemitic and anti-Israel. Ironically, the ICJ was established with the Holocaust in mind. One of the court’s initiators was a Jewish-American lawyer named Benjamin Ferencz who prosecuted Nazi criminals at the 1946 Nuremberg trials.
Another response to Baroud’s clear attempt to delegitimize Israel is the US declaration (November 2019) that Israeli settlements on the West Bank are “not inconsistent” with international law despite decision by world bodies like the International Court of Justice. Israel’s Prime Minister then and now, Benjamin Netanyahu called the US declaration “a policy that rights a historical wrong.”
Baroud’s cynical use of “Peace Now” does not confer legitimacy to his argument. Furthermore, the Israeli government does not approve many outposts and if the government does, it has the legal right to do so. According to Professor Eugene Rostow, Dean of the Yale University Law School, and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs in the Lyndon Johnson administration, in an opinion piece in the New York Times (September 19, 1983), asserted that “Israel has an unassailable legal right to establish settlements in the West Bank. The West Bank is part of the British Mandate in Palestine which included Israel and Jordan as well as certain other territories not yet generally recognized as belonging to either country. While Jewish settlements east of the Jordan River were suspended in 1922, such settlements remain legal in the West Bank.”
Still, Baroud believes that the ICJ will most likely delegitimize every Israeli action taken in ‘occupied Palestine’ since 1967. This time around, he predicts “the consequences of the ICJ resolution will not be symbolic, as it is often the case in UN decisions on Palestine.” Baroud and King Abdullah have deliberately ignored the Hamas inspired terrorism against Israel and Palestinian organized violence on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount. Lest Baroud and Abdullah have forgotten, the PA is in control of the West Bank’s areas A, and B, and the only times Israeli forces enter these areas is when in pursuit of Palestinian terrorist killers that the PA Security forces aren’t able or unwilling to deal with.
Both Ramzy Baroud and King Abdullah II are similarly overlooking the simple fact that the Palestinians have failed time and again to compromise for peace. The opportunities Palestinians have had to achieve statehood were numerous. From 1937 onward the Palestinian-Arabs (the Jews in Palestine prior to 1948 were called Palestinians) refused all offers to reach statehood. The latest opportunity was the July 2000 summit at Camp David, when Yasser Arafat refused to end the conflict despite a most generous offer made by Israel’s PM Ehud Barak, which was endorsed by President Bill Clinton. A more generous offer for peace and Palestinian statehood was made in 2008 by Israel’s PM Ehud Olmert to Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen). He too refused to be responsible for signing a peace treaty with Israel. Clearly, any Palestinian-Arab leader accepting less than a maximalist Palestinian demand faces assassination. Abbas chose to use the worn-out excuse of demanding that Israel admit all the Palestinian refugees. Although Olmert allowed for a significant number of Palestinian families to enter Israel, the idea of all the refugees being allowed into Israel would have ended the demographic existence of the Jewish state, a proposition that no Israeli leader could accept.
Delay in the entrance of the Jordanian ambassador to Israel to the Al-Aqsa Mosque on January 17, 2023, caused a diplomatic hubbub between the two governments. The Netanyahu government was quick to respond to Amman that Israel has not changed the status quo on Temple Mount. Jordan’s ambassador to Israel Ghassan Majali was given full access to the Mosque.
This month, Abdullah II and his government have once again shunned a meeting of the Negev Peace Forum in Abu Dhabi, where the foreign ministers of from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Morocco, Egypt, the US, and Israel participated. Jordan has now become captive of the rejectionist Palestinian Authority (PA) that cannot govern in the West Bank and is not willing to assume the responsibilities of statehood. Given the fact that a breakthrough between the PA and Israel is unlikely anytime soon, Jordan will be left out of the peace benefits the Arab peacemakers: Bahrain, UAE, and Morocco are enjoying.