Israel’s existential threat to Jordan

King Abdullah is right about the danger, but what about the response?

Jordan’s King Abdullah is seriously concerned about the return to power of Benjamin Netanyahu at the head of a hard-right government devoted to expanding settlements, including two fascist parties that oppose the Palestinian state and plan to annex the occupied West Bank and remove the inhabitants to Jordan as an ‘alternative homeland.’

That was clearly reflected in the interview he gave to CNN this week in which he warned: “we have certain red lines, and if people want to push those red lines then we will deal with that.” He cautioned that “if people want to get into a conflict with us, we are quite prepared.”

The Jordanian monarch was never on good terms with Netanyahu, who seeks to end Hashemite custodianship of the Muslim and Chrisitian holy sites in Jerusalem and champions the ‘Deal of the Century’ whose ultimate goal is to expel the Palestinians to Jordan and create the Palestinian state on its territory. It is natural for his fears to grow after Netanyahu obtained a comfortable Knesset majority with the support of two fascist right-wing parties.

Netanyahu doesn’t respect the red lines the Jordanian monarch referred to, and doesn’t even recognise a state called Jordan. He used to deliberately insult him personally, such as when he laid on a festive welcome for the guard at the Israeli embassy in Amman who killed a young Jordanian in cold blood.

I support the king’s unprecedented tough stance against the incoming government’s hubris and fascist policies, and his pledge to firmly confront any attempt by it to crossJordan’s red lines. But I disagree about the ways and means of confrontation, and the political, military, and diplomatic weapons that can be used in this regard to protect Jordan and its Palestinian Arab other half.

To clarify, his remark to his CNN interviewerthat “we have to be concerned about a next intifada… (which) neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians will benefit from” was wide off the mark. That attitude could weaken rather than strengthen Jordan against the existential Israeli threats it faces.

The intifada currently developing in the Occupied Territories is the right option and probably the only one available to the Palestinians living under Israeli occupation throughout Palestine and not just in the West Bank. It follows 20 years of futile and demeaning negotiations, and of Palestinian security forces engaging in security coordination to protect the settler occupiers and their brutal army in one of the greatest betrayals in history.

I agree with the Jordanian monarch that an intifada would not benefit the Israelis. The nascent armed uprising reflected in resistance operations against the occupation’s army and settlers is a natural response to the crimes, massacres, and humiliations the racist occupation perpetrates against the indigenous Palestinians, after having killed off the peace process, the two-state solution, an independent Palestinian state, and even the principle of coexistence and equality.

The first and second intifadas (using stones and then arms)took up the defence of the Muslim and Christian holy sites against an enemy that only understands the language of force. The third intifada whose flames are currently being fanned deserves to be supported by Jordan because it confronts the ‘alternative homeland’ conspiracy. It strengthens Jordan’s position and upholds its identity while denying the Israeli occupation one of the most importantpillars of its persistence — peace and stability –and making the ‘five-star’ occupation costly in both material and human terms.

The many crises through which Jordan is currently passing are most if not all consequences of its ‘gentle’ handling of the Israeli occupation and its banking on peace with a racist state that does not want it, does not respect international laws or agreements, and wants security, stability, and recognition without giving anything in return. The Arab states have abandoned Jordan, discontinued their aid, and ended its role. They exploited its normalisation with the occupier state to bypass Jordan and deal with it directly. They entangled it in wars in Syria and Libya, and unnecessary enmity with Iran, in exchange for nothing.

If Israel forces a confrontation on Jordan, it is good to know it and its king are prepared for it, aware of the other side’s plans, and ready to defend the country and its brothers and sisters on the western side of the River Jordan. The entire Jordanian people would support him if he were to decide to desist from gentle diplomacy, call things by their names, and address Netanyahu’s government in the language it understands, as a diplomatic pre-emptive strike in what may be an unavoidable existential confrontation.

Israel’s existential threat to Jordan

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