With Washington’s backing, Israel is planning to move forward on controversial plans to annex a broad swath of the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley, as early as this summer. PM Netanyahu last month issued a likely time table of “within two months”.
Arab nations, especially in the gulf, have remained uncharacteristically mum about the whole thing as they focus on countering Iran (which has, it should be noted, actually brought Saudi Arabia into a quiet ‘covert’ intelligence sharing relationship with Israel over the past couple years).
But Jordan on Friday finally went on the offensive, with King Abdullah telling the German magazine Der Spiegel that Israeli annexation of parts of the West Bank “will lead to a massive conflict with Jordan”.
The ‘warning’ was posted to the official website of the king’s Royal Hashemite Court on Friday:
Asked about the impact of Israel potentially moving forward with the annexation of parts of the West Bank, the King said it could lead to a massive conflict with Jordan.
“I don’t want to make threats and create an atmosphere of loggerheads, but we are considering all options. We agree with many countries in Europe and the international community that the law of strength should not apply in the Middle East,” His Majesty added.
He further reaffirmed Jordan’s position that “the two-state solution is the only way for us to be able to move forward.” He at the same time urged the region to focus on collective efforts at fighting coronavirus instead of clashing with each other, as he said will happen if Israel initiates its provocative and ‘illegal’ expansionist plans.
Abdullah, who maintains a close relationship with the United States and has long opened his country to CIA and US military presence especially during the early years of regime change efforts in Syria, also warned that “chaos and extremism in the region” would be unleashed if the Palestinian Authority collapsed.
“Leaders who advocate a one-state solution do not understand what that would mean. What would happen if the Palestinian National Authority collapsed? There would be more chaos and extremism in the region,” he said.
Meanwhile, as mentioned the United States will soon approve Israel’s move to annex parts of the West Bank under Trump’s “deal of the century” peace plan.
“President Trump pledged to recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Jewish communities there and in the Jordan Valley,” Netanyahu said last month.
But should Israeli annexation indeed move forward by this summer, as Netanyahu envisions, it could potentially unleash protests and violence on the level of a third Intifiada. Palestinian Authority leaders as well as Hamas have vowed that such an extensive new Israeli land grab will be resisted by call costs.
And now it appears neighboring Jordan, long host to the largest Palestinian ‘permanent’ refugee community in the region, is ready to help stoke the flames of chaos and resistance to the US-Israeli plan. However, it also remains that Jordan has in the end proven itself a compliant puppet state of Washington and Israeli interests time and again.