Jordan's King Abdullah says Israel relations worst ever

The two countries have clashed over Israel's moves against the Palestinians with the backing of the United States

Jordan’s King Abdullah II, second right, tours the Baqura enclave formerly leased by Israel with Crown Prince Hussein and military officers, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Jordan’s decision not to renew the leases on the Baqura and Ghamr enclaves, known in Hebrew as Naharayim and Tzofar, were a fresh blow to Israel and Jordan’s rocky relations 25 years after the two countries signed a peace deal. (Yousef Allan/Jordanian Royal Court via AP)
Powered by automated translation

Jordan’s King Abdullah said ties between the kingdom and Israel were at their lowest point since they signed a peace treaty 25 years ago.

He said tensions were the result of political turmoil that includes Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing corruption charges and the failure to form a government after two elections.

“We are hoping Israel will decide its future – whether it is in the next several weeks or three months,” King Abdullah said at an event in New York City hosted by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a US think tank.

“The problems that we have had with Israel [are] bilateral… Now I hope, whatever happens in Israel over the next two or three months, we can get back to talking to each other on simple issues that we haven’t been able to talk about for the past two years.”

He said the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Israeli government’s plans to annex the Jordan Valley had caused extra friction.

“Anybody... in the international community who says that we can have peace between Israelis and Palestinians without the support of America doesn’t know our region and the role that America plays,” he said. “We all need America to bring both sides together.

“Unfortunately, we are in pause mode. As you well know, Israelis have gone through a series of elections. We may be seeing another three months of elections,” he said. “So as a result, we are all in pause mode and we haven’t been able to get people back around the table, talking to each other.”

There was also a diplomatic spat between the countries when Israel arrested two Jordanians in August and September and held them without charge or providing evidence against them.

Jordan subsequently summoned Israel’s ambassador. Israel had accused both suspects of being involved with militant organisations, claims they both denied.

This month, two territories that Amman leased to Israel as part of the peace agreement were returned to Jordan.

The agreement had allowed Israeli farmers to work in the two zones. Jordan had insisted that the agreement would end when the lease concluded.