Friday, August 4, 2017

Israel - Jordan Relations Have Become 'Very Dangerous', Abdullah To Visit PA In Ramallah: Sends Message To Israel

Relations between Israel and Jordan, neighboring states that signed a peace treaty in 1994, have hit rock bottom after twin decisions by the Israeli government that have been widely seen as an affront to Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

The first was Israel’s order, since rescinded, to install metal detectors at the Noble Sanctuary, the Muslim name for the disputed plateau in Jerusalem’s Old City that holds the Al Aqsa Mosque and gold Dome of the Rock. Although Israel backed down, the decision was seen as a slap to Jordan, which is the legal custodian of the site.

The other involved Israel’s response to a deadly incident in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in which an Israeli Embassy guard killed two Jordanians, a 17-year-old delivery boy and an orthopedic surgeon.

The result has been a diplomatic and social-media chill between the two countries and their leaders that has little precedence in the years since the peace treaty was signed.

“The whole thing is very dangerous,” said Salameh Nematt, a Jordanian writer and political analyst, in an interview from the United States, where he was traveling.

Referring to the Amman shooting and its aftermath, he said: “The incident itself, which is provocative, isn’t dangerous for the king, but it comes as so many factors are exerting enormous pressure on Jordan: the economy, the refugee crisis, a lack of progress on internal problems. Something like this can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.”

Against the backdrop of the Israel embassy guard affair and the Temple Mount crisis, King Abdullah II of Jordan is expected to arrive at the Palestinian Authority for the first time in five years—and show his political support of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who severed relations with Israel.

The timing of the expected visit is as important as the visit itself.

Abdullah's arrival at the present time is expected to give Abbas political support in a time when relations between Israel and the PA deteriorated due to Abbas' decision to sever ties with Israel, including security coordination.

The fact that Abdullah will arrive in Ramallah shortly after the incident in Amman—in which an Israeli security guard shot two Jordanian civilians—and after the Temple Mount crisis, two events that brought Israel-Jordan relations to a record low, constitutes a clear and meaningful statement to Israel.

A US Senate committee approved legislation Thursday that would suspend US financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority until it ends what lawmakers said is a long-standing practice of rewarding Palestinians who kill Americans and Israelis.

Members of the Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 17-4 to pass the measure, called the "Taylor Force Act," sponsored by South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, and the committee chairman, Tennessee Republican Senator Bob Corker.

Corker said the Palestinian Authority has "enshrined in law" a system that creates a monetary incentive for acts of terrorism by paying monthly stipends of as much as $3,500 to Palestinians who commit acts of violence and to their families. The amount of the payment depends on the length of the jail sentence they receive for the crime, he said. 

"This is sick," Corker said.

Husam Zomlot, chief representative of the Palestinian General Delegation to the US, called the legislation "misinformed and counterproductive." He disputed Corker's assessment of what he described as a 52-year old program "to support families who lost their breadwinners to the atrocities of the occupation, the vast majority of whom are unduly arrested or killed by Israel."

Palestinians have argued that ending Israel's "occupation" of the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem—lands Palestinians seek for their state—is key to defeating terrorism.

Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick wrote Wednesday evening that National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster is purging pro-Israel staff from the National Security Council (NSC), turning the administration against President Donald Trump’s policies.
In a Facebook post, Glick noted that “all of these people” whom McMaster has fired this week — Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, and Ezra Cohen-Watnick — “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.
She noted that the firings were the latest evidence that NSA McMaster is “deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump”:
According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.
Many of you will remember that a few days before Trump’s visit to Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu… and his advisers were blindsided when the Americans suddenly told them that no Israeli official was allowed to accompany Trump to the Western Wall.
What hasn’t been reported is that it was McMaster who pressured Trump to agree not to let Netanyahu accompany him to the Western Wall. At the time, I and other reporters were led to believe that this was the decision of rogue anti-Israel officers at the US consulate in Jerusalem. But it wasn’t. It was McMaster….
Meanwhile, she noted, McMaster has replaced pro-Israel officials with anti-Israel, anti-Trump officials, and he allowed anti-Israel Obama holdovers to continue in their jobs….

No comments: