Observers say the public hosting of an Israeli official in Amman by Jordan’s King Abdullah II on Wednesday is part of a significant reset of relations between the two historic peace partners. It was the first such public meeting in more than four years after Jordan was sidelined by the administrations of former US President Donald Trump and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
In a rare public meeting, Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz talked about regional security and the improvement in strained relations in recent years.
With the signing of a peace treaty in 1994, Jordan became a security ally for Israel, but relations suffered from an Israel–Palestinian conflict. He reformed with the formation of the new Israeli government last June.
Abdullah told Gantz that it was important to maintain peace in the Palestinian territories and stressed the need for measures to end the conflict “to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on the two-state solution”.
Persistent conflict between Muslim worshipers and Israeli security forces in East Jerusalem, where Jordan serves as the custodian of the holy sites, is another source of tension.
In a tweet after the meeting, Gantz “praised the expansion of the relationship” and “expressed” [Israel’s] Commitment to further develop security, economic and civil exchanges.”
Jordanian political commentator Amer al-Sabileh says the meeting is “part of the new Jordanian approach towards Israelis in the post-Netanyahu era and Gantz is the main channel.”
Al Sabaileh told VOA that rebuilding official ties was important because of Jordan’s concerns for the West Bank and the Palestinian political scene, noting that Gantz has also spoken with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“Many things are heating up in the West Bank. Some think that Abbas, in a way, didn’t inform Jordan about the contents of the Gantz meeting. He believes he made peace or that vision. which the Jordanians continue to promote to revive peace talks. Therefore, it is a way to keep Jordan on board, keep the Jordan Line active with the Israelis, and avoid any surprising elements, regardless. Be it at the political level between Israel and the Palestinians or on the stability of the West Bank in general,” he said.
Although there was no mention in the official readout about Iran, al-Sabileh said he believed it was likely to be discussed as he sees Jordan as a “potential target for Iran’s proxy confrontation with Israel”. sees as.
“When it comes to Iran today, the West Bank through Jordan is one of the main targets of their strategy to destabilize the Israelis,” he said. “In Gaza, they have a clear influence. South Lebanon, the same. There are more Iranians now in the south of Syria. There were also several attempts to influence Jordan and work in Jordan.”
Ofer Zalzberg, director of the Middle East program at the Austria-based Herbert C. Kelman Institute, told the Saudi Arabian news daily that the Abdullah-Gantz meeting was “part of elevating a stabilization policy in the face of a weakened Palestinian authority.”