ANALYSIS: How King Abdullah II is Working to Undermine Peace With Israel

Large group of Israeli tourists humiliated by Jordanian officials for allegedly “praying” at Aaron’s Tomb.

By Yochanan Visser | | Topics: Jordan
Photo: Issam Rimawi / Flash90

Several Israeli media outlets reported over the weekend that Jordanian King Abdullah II had turned-down a request for an urgent meeting from Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu.

The report appeared to be not true according to Israeli Government officials who responded to an inquiry by this reporter.

Still, if the report isn’t true indeed Netanyahu would have had good reason to ask for the meeting because the Jordanian leader increasingly appears to behave not as a ‘peace partner’, but as a foe of Israel.

As we reported last week the King recently met with Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas in Amman reportedly to coordinate moves ahead of the publication of US President Donald Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ the new out-of-the-box approach to the Palestinian Israeli conflict.

“According to Arab sources who sent this reporter classified information about the deliberations between the two leaders a strategy was discussed which would undermine Trump’s peace plan and increase the pressure on Israel. Both Abdullah and Abbas are facing increasing domestic opposition against the way they handle the severe problems in Jordan and the territories under PA control. To divert attention Abbas and Abdullah reportedly decided to play the el-Aqsa card and are waiting for an opportunity, for example, a visit by an Israeli or American official to the Temple Mount, to stir severe unrest in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria,” we wrote last week.

By creating an artificial crisis over the el-Aqsa mosque Abdullah and Abbas could save their regimes and at the same time drive a wedge in the emerging Sunni Arab coalition of countries who are cooperating with Israel and the US to change the approach toward the conflict.

It’s a known fact that King Abdullah II is trying to change the relationship with Israel and not for the better.

At the beginning of this year, the Jordanian leader decided to team-up with Abbas in an attempt to foil an Israeli plan which aims to significantly improve living conditions in the Arab parts of Jerusalem and to change the matriculation programs at Arab schools in the city.

At the end of 2018, Abdullah decided not to extend the Israeli lease of two parcels of land adjacent to the border with Israel by pulling out of two annexes of the 1994 peace agreement with the Jewish state.

The decision was taken after escalating domestic pressure to re-take the enclaves and to scale-down the relationship with Israel.

The Jordanian King also uses Jerusalem to stir-up anger at home and uses harsh language to denounce Israel’s policies in its capital and to underline the Muslim claim on the city.

“Jerusalem and the future of Palestine are a red line for Jordan. I don’t think I can make it any clearer… As a Hashemite, how could I (possibly) relinquish Jerusalem? That is impossible. It is a red line. (I say) a resounding no to (relinquishing) Jerusalem,” he said at the end of March sounding a lot like Abbas.

The peace treaty with Israel has in essence been an agreement between the Hashemite Kingdom and the Jewish state and not between the Jordanian people and Israel but that seems to have been changed now

Even Jordanian ministers openly show their hatred for Israel as was proven by Information Minister Jumana Ghneimat who in January 2019 walked across a large Israeli flag at the entrance of the Professional Unions complex in Amman.

Recently the Jordanian authorities took new anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli measures.

Globes reported in June that tourists entering Jordan were no longer allowed to bring with them items with Jewish symbols on it.

The Jordanians claimed the measure was related to ‘security’ but Israeli officials didn’t buy this claim and said it was a “grave phenomenon” which aroused anger and disappointment among tourists.

On Thursday last week, Jordan’s government decided to shut down Aaron’s Tomb near Petra after a large group of Israelis “illegally prayed” at the site according to Jordanian Waqf Minister Abdul Nasser Musa Abu al-Basal.

Al-Basal justified the move by saying that the Israelis had committed “violations” at the site and had performed “rituals without knowledge of the ministry.”

Jordanian media claimed that the Israeli visitors had performed “Talmudic religious ceremonies” at the site of the tomb.

However, Rony Ayalon, a tour guide accompanying the large group of Israelis said that the Jordanian authorities had humiliated the group and forced them to remove yarmulkes and head coverings.

“They stripped everyone down. Women had their head coverings removed, men had their kippas (yarmulkes) taken off…anyone found with a religious characteristic had it confiscated,” Ayalon told reporters.

He insisted no prayers were recited at the site a claim which turned out to be true after video’s  of the incident were posted on social media.

Media claims that Jordanian social media users were outraged by what a Jordanian official dubbed  Israeli “hooliganism” weren’t true either.

Comments from ordinary Jordanians condemned the Abdullah regime for creating a “scapegoat”.

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