Friday, June 19, 2020

  • Friday, June 19, 2020
  • Elder of Ziyon

By Daled Amos

Jordan's King Abdullah is doing what he can to head off Netanyahu's proposed plan to extend Israeli sovereignty to part of the "West Bank." But instead of discussing the issue with Israel, Abdullah is taking his case to the US.

As a Jerusalem Post editorial points out, we've seen this strategy before:

Yet, according to reports this week, Abdullah has refused to take phone calls from Netanyahu to discuss the issue or accede to requests by Gantz for a meeting. He should not be taking a page out of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s playbook and give Israel the silent treatment because of policy disagreements...
King Abdullah is aware that if he expects to get the same warm embrace from Trump that Abbas received from then-EU Commissioner Mogherini...

Abbas and then-EU Commissioner Federica Mogherini

...he is likely to be disappointed.

So instead -- Abdullah this week is, in his words, "briefing" Congress instead.

That may explain the timing of the AP report this week about the consideration of cutting US aid to Jordan over its refusal to extradite Hamas terrorist Ahlam Tamimi, who is responsible for the deaths of 2 American citizens.

These days, according to the Jerusalem Post editorial, Jordan enjoys a level of criticism-free popularity in Washington that Israel no longer has:
While criticism of long-standing US Mideast allies such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel is commonplace in Washington, and has been for years, Jordan has generally received special treatment because of widespread recognition of its precarious strategic situation and the important role it plays in stabilizing the Mideast and in combating terrorism.
It is a position that Abdullah has, and continues to, milk for all its worth -- which is why the issue of Jordan insisting on harboring a terrorist is a potential sore point.

This week, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash -- whose country is also opposed to Netanyahu's plan -- said Israeli policy in general and the Israeli-Palestinian issue, in particular, did not have to be a roadblock:
Can I have a political disagreement with Israel but at the same time try and bridge other areas of the relationship? I think I can. I think that is fundamentally where we are.
But Abdullah has an out. His defenders say he is limited in what he can do because the majority of his people are Palestinian and he would risk the stability of his kingdom if he were to be perceived as being friendly to Israel -- or in handing over a terrorist who murdered Israeli children.

That kind of logic raises a problem: if Abdullah gets away with this excuse because a majority of his people are Palestinian, what are we supposed to expect from Abbas, when all of his people are Palestinian?

Arafat, himself, was known to use the excuse, "I can't do it, they will kill me"

So, seeing how successful Jordan has been using this excuse, how long before Abbas starts using Abdullah's playbook?


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