The Invaluable U.S.-Israeli Alliance – Foreign Policy
This case study analyzes the Jordanian-Israeli relationship in the context of Jordanian-Israeli relationship, it begins by highlighting the benefits that could .. are designated by Israel and Jordan with approval from the U.S. government. .. A lack of trust on both sides is a major reason warm peace has not been realized. Israel and the United States are putting the finishing touches on an agreement that But as always happens in relations between countries, the. The U.S.-Israeli alliance now contributes more than ever to The relationship may not be symmetrical; the United States has provided Israel.
The Ministry of Interior relies on low-level employees, who ultimately have more of a say than ambassadors and embassy staff on the issuances of visas. Other branches of the Israeli government, which deal with day-to-day visa issues, would like to see an increase in the number of visas issued to Jordanians.
There is a VIP list for certain types of individuals, such as businessmen, but it has not solved many of the issues. For Jordanians, especially those of Palestinian origin, this issue creates significant tension, because many have families in Israel or the Occupied Territories whom they cannot visit. Jordanians and Israelis involved in bilateral cooperation believe that arguments about people going to the West Bank and not returning are illogical, since the Israeli embassy and Ministry of Interior know the reason an applicant is applying for a visa.
To them, it is not rational to delay or deny a visa application to those applying for business reasons or to attend events focusing on bilateral and regional cooperation. Tourism It was thought that cooperation on tourism would be an important aspect of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, as the industry plays a significant role in both countries.
Besides the economic boost cooperation on tourism would provide, it was thought that the ease of access, especially for Israelis to Jordan, would increase people-to-people contact and create understanding.
While there was some increase in tourism, the full potential of this opportunity was not reached. The problem for Jordanians has been obtaining a visa to visit Israel. Because of this, many local businesses do not benefit, and Jordan raised entrance fees to its sites in order to cover maintenance costs.
InIsrael received about 11, Jordanian tourists, about. This number was significantly higher than the 2, tourists who came from Egypt in the same year, perhaps indicating that many of these Jordanians were of Palestinian origin visiting family in Israel or the Occupied Territories. However, the number of Jordanian tourists in was dramatically lower than the 77, Jordanians who visited Israel inbefore the Second Intifada.
When looking at the venues for arrival, one sees that Israel benefits. InIsrael received abouttourists from its crossings with Jordan, meaning that overnon-Jordanians visited Israel through Jordanian-Israeli crossings.
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In andJordan received betweenandIsraeli tourists, compared toin The majority stayed overnight. The only problem with looking at these statistics is the inability to determine how many of the Israeli visitors to Jordan were Arabs with Israeli citizenship. Jordan also receives a significant number of arrivals through its crossing points with Israel; the Jordan Valley crossing in the north received overarrivals in Israelis say they enjoy traveling and point to the number of Israeli tourists who travel to Turkey, but they say their security must be guaranteed and because of this do not feel comfortable going to Jordan.
At the early stages of the peace agreement, it was common to see Israelis in Jordan; today that is not the case.
In fact, some Israelis believe decreased Israeli tourism to Jordan is part of the reason for the decreased tourism at Petra. Jordanians rarely complete their university studies in Israel; they know it will be difficult to find work if employers see that their degrees were completed in Israel and because their degrees are not accepted by the professional associations. Water Cooperation Water distribution is very important in a region with extreme scarcity.
The Jordan River is a very highly contested water source. Its tributaries originate in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Golan Heights, with each country asserting rights over its water. Cooperation on water-related matters has been one of the bright spots of the Jordanian-Israeli relationship and was made one of the top priorities in the peace negotiations.
While many scholars have predicted water wars in the region, Jordan and Israel work well together on water issues. The crux of the water conflict between Israel and Jordan involved the right to utilize water from the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers.
In the peace negotiations, Jordan put water utilization on the same level as security, territorial rights and the refugee problem. This was the only dispute within the Arab-Israeli conflict not directly related to territory and thus gave rise to the opportunity to find a bilateral solution with a real negotiated settlement.
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The resolution of this conflict is an essential part of the treaty, which allocates fixed quotas of water to each party and stipulates future storing and diversion systems on the two rivers.
Other provisions discuss cooperation on water pollution, distribution of groundwater resources, the prohibition of a unilateral change in flow of the two rivers, and finding future sources of water. The treaty also allocates water from the other river to each country. Israel receives 25 million cubic meters mcm from the Yarmouk, and Jordan receives 30 mcm from the Jordan.
Israel is also permitted to pump an additional 20 mcm of water during winter from the Yarmouk into the Sea of Galilee.
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This amount is redirected to Jordan during the summer months. This is a significant reduction from the amount of water it was using from the Yarmouk prior to the peace agreement.
However, Israel is permitted to maintain its usage of the previous levels of water from the Yarmouk until Jordan builds a dam on the river. Out of its 30 mcm allocation, 20 mcm comes from the river itself, while the rest comes from the Sea of Galilee until it can be provided by a desalination plant that processes groundwater sources. The treaty also states that Israel and Jordan will work together to provide Jordan with an additional 50 mcm of fresh water in the future, but it does not specify how the costs for this would be distributed.
But there is no question that Jordan benefitted from the treaty with respect to its water supply; previous plans allocated water to Jordan based on its control of the East and West Banks.
The treaty does not specify the quality of water Jordan is to receive from Israel. Thus, at times Jordan has received polluted floodwater, and this has led to tensions. As recently as earlythe Jordanian Ministry of Water and Irrigation detected polluted water contaminating the Yarmouk, which provides Amman with almost one-third of its water.
However, once the polluted water was detected, the water tunnel was closed down, the water was discarded, and Israel compensated Jordan by replacing the polluted water.
A similar incident occurred in When such incidents occur, the two sides work together to find solutions. One Jordanian expert on water issues cited two occasions in the past 10 years when Syria declined Jordanian requests to release more water because of shortages in Jordan; in contrast, Israel released additional water and took a share back later.
Jordanians, like the rest of the Arab world, sincerely believe that Israel does not want peace. They point to the recent wars in Lebanon and Gaza, the blockade against Gaza and increasing settlement expansion as evidence. Because of this, most Jordanians do not believe that there is any hope for a just resolution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
There are also issues supported by fringe groups in Israel that cause concern. The PLO also originally considered Jordan to be a part of greater Palestine and did not remove this claim from its charter until the s. It was revived in early by a right-wing Knesset member, but the Israeli Foreign Ministry immediately distanced itself from the suggestion.
Jordanians continue to fear it and point to the peace deal with Israel as a way for Jordan to delineate its border with Israel and protect its sovereignty. In addition, Jordan considers Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank to be a threat to its national security, as it could lead to annexation of significant portions of the West Bank.
It is also uneasy about Israeli policies seeking separation from Palestinians and unilaterally withdrawing from occupied lands. Jordanians who took the political risk at the signing of the peace treaty of building relations with Israel are disappointed with the outcome and do not believe that, in the future, individuals will take the same risks, going against Jordanian society to normalize relations with Israel.
They point to the rocket attacks from Gaza after its pullout, the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in that led to the Israeli offensive against Hezbollah, and the unwillingness of Arab states to support confidence-building measures that would enable Israel to be assured about its security concerns.
The Israelis say they are ready for increased cooperation with Arab states, particularly Jordan, but are skeptical of the fact that the Arabs have not reciprocated. The reality is that most cooperation between Jordan and Israel occurs largely out of the public eye for fear of social repercussions. If this is the best type of peace Israel can hope for, how can they trust security guarantees offered by any Arab country? When it comes to Jordanian-Israeli cooperation, Israelis point to the risks both sides must face.
Societal Issues Societal issues in Jordan play an important role in the perception of both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Jordanian-Israeli relationship. These issues are mostly connected to demographics in Jordan, where between one-half and two-thirds of the population is of Palestinian origin.
Jordan is one of the only countries that gave rights and citizenship to most of its Palestinian refugees. There are various categories of Palestinians in Jordan with permanent residency but carrying different types of documents.
Some Jordanians of Palestinian origin carry a Jordanian passport with a national identification number, which gives them access to all governmental services. Others carry Jordanian passports, but without national identification numbers, meaning their access to services is more limited.
Palestinians from Gaza carry a two-year temporary passport, which must be renewed. Within these layers of self-identification one can find Palestinians who consider themselves Jordanian and have little attachment to their ancestral home, whereas others identify themselves as only Palestinian.
Among the population that is originally Jordanian, one can find those who are even more supportive of the Palestinian cause than many Palestinians. At the same time, many of them strongly believe that Jordan is a country that must have good relations with all of its neighbors, including Israel. They argue that Jordan lacks resources such as oil and water and requires strong alliances. A recent problem surfaced inwhen Jordan began revoking the citizenship of thousands of Palestinians living in Jordan to avoid having them permanently resettled there.
This raised tensions between Jordanians and Jordanians of Palestinian origin, making Palestinians feel as if they were being squeezed out.
These Palestinians will keep their permanent-resident status by retaining their identification cards, issued as family-unification documents to those who have families in the West Bank.
Among those who had their citizenship revoked were individuals working for the Palestinian Authority or the PLO and those who had not served in the Jordanian army.
While visionaries like King Hussein could make the transition with ease, it was never easy for the public, especially when seeing Israeli officials visiting Jordan shortly after the signing of the agreement.
This is especially true for Jordan, where Palestinians make up a significant percentage of the population. Thus, more than any other country, Jordan is inextricably linked to the Palestinian situation. As previously stated, after the peace deal was signed, enthusiasm ran extremely high on both sides. The Jordanian-Israeli agreement was to pave the way for regional peace and a final resolution to the Palestinian situation.
However, soon after the agreement was signed, the relationship cooled. In addition, the Peres government authorized the assassination of Yahya Ayyash, a senior Hamas member who had devised several suicide attacks against Israel. Israel also suspended peace talks with Syria, claiming that it was harboring terrorists.
However, the political situation eroded, with increased violence between Israelis and Palestinians, and Netanyahu took tough stances on a unified Jerusalem and the formation of a Palestinian state. Jordanian-Israeli relations continued to deteriorate soon afterward, following the killing of seven Israeli schoolgirls by a Jordanian soldier in al-Baqura. Although King Hussein made a trip to Jerusalem to personally offer condolences to the families of the victims, relations remained strained.
Netanyahu had given his permission for the plan to proceed, leaving the Israeli chief of staff and director of military intelligence unaware. The Second Intifada brought a wave of attacks and negative sentiment throughout the Arab world that sent the peace process into a tailspin.
Bush held a meeting with the Israeli and Palestinian prime ministers in Aqaba to try to restart the peace process, but no positive developments emerged.
As the Israelis increased pressure on the Palestinians through more incursions, curfews and the building of the separation wall, Jordan felt threatened. To the Jordanians, these Israeli actions, specifically the wall, constituted a threat to Jordanian national security, as they encouraged more Palestinian immigration into Jordan.
The war in Gaza also brought increased pessimism to the Jordanian street. Several demonstrations, including protests outside the Israeli embassy in Amman, took place, and opposition leaders called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and an abrogation of the peace treaty.
The Israeli relationship to other Arab countries has been and will always be linked to its relationship with the Palestinians. For the Arab states and Israel to form trust and warm relations, the situation on the ground must improve. If the Arab public would see the creation of a Palestinian state and steps taken by the Israelis and Palestinians to live in peace side by side, they would be encouraged to move in a similar direction.
But for the Israelis there is no guarantee, which leads to their hesitation to make tough compromises with the Palestinians. The proposals focused on security, economics, tourism, the environment and several other topics.
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However, the vast majority of them did not move past the planning stages. Often there was a lack of political will on either side to move forward with a project, in addition to cultural and logistical roadblocks and the impact of the situation between the Palestinians and Israelis.
While trade can benefit both sides economically, it does not encourage the people-to-people contact that is needed for warm peace; and, in the case of Jordan it is generally limited to agriculture and textiles because of the economic gap between the two countries.
Also, while joint ventures in advanced economic sectors would be great, mistrust hinders the ability of each side to enter into such initiatives. For Jordanians, it is difficult to overcome the fear of being economically exploited; for Israelis, it is difficult to look past the fear that their investments and technology would not be secure in Arab countries.
However, there are some initiatives that could be implemented in the short term to help bring people together towards common goals. These include small projects that increase people-to-people contact and the joint development of energy and water resources. Projects in these areas could yield tangible results, while building the confidence between governments and people that leads to private-sector cooperation on larger-scale projects.
Additionally, water and energy projects could address important needs of both countries. However, none of these projects provides a silver-bullet solution; they are part of a package of proposals that must come with improvements of the political situation on the ground.
People-to-People Contact Personal contact can overcome issues of fear and mistrust. It is the first in a series of steps needed to foster cooperation and dialogue.
The goal of each of these projects is to bring Jordanians and Israelis together to discuss not only the political situation, but also common interests in occupations, hobbies and culture.
These projects occur on a very small scale and out of the spotlight, as large-scale, high-profile projects have the potential to be politicized and used for purposes that are contrary to the ultimate goal of the project. The two-day workshop included seminars that helped the teachers improve their skills as well as leisure time for them to get to know each other on a personal level. The obvious issue that arises in any such event is mistrust, but other barriers unrelated to politics exist, such as differences in culture, language and customs.
The results of these projects are very positive, but the effort must be sustained. Jordan can, and should, use its relationship with Israel to serve as a gateway between Israel and the Arab and Muslim worlds. As the peace process moves forward in the future, Jordan could invite participants from other Arab countries to take part in activities such as those being conducted by the ACPD.
This is a significant burden for Jordan to carry and would likely come with significant domestic opposition, but no other Arab country is geographically well-situated or politically strong enough to shoulder the weight. Joint Development of Water Resources As previously mentioned, the cooperation between Jordan and Israel on water has been relatively successful, with both sides working out differences bilaterally without escalation of problems. This type of cooperation should continue to serve as a way for both countries to work together.
It can also be expanded to include countries such as Lebanon and Syria, which have similar water concerns and share the same water sources. The Dead Sea is historically very important to the region and serves as a top tourist destination. Currently, its water surface area is down from square kilometers to ; the sea could dry up in 50 years if no action is taken. The fundamental goal of the project is to create a canal that pumps water from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea and is lined with desalination facilities to produce drinkable water and stations to generate the hydropower required to run most of the process.
It would potentially produce mcm per year of water for Jordan and mcm for Israel and the Palestinians. In addition, the project would produce about megawatts of energy.
However, the project faces many challenges. Also, the environmental impact of such a project is uncertain. Thus, a number of feasibility studies are underway, including some by the World Bank and Jordan itself. The primary concerns surround the effects on marine life in the Gulf of Aqaba from the extraction of large amounts of water, the effects of mixing Red Sea water with that of the Dead Sea, and Israeli concerns over the potential leakages that could pollute freshwater aquifers where it has developed advanced agricultural techniques.
The Palestinians have not formally asked for a share of the desalinated water from the project, because they do not want to compromise their claims to mountain aquifers supplying the West Bank and the Jordan Valley. Additionally, some Jordanians accuse the Israelis of wanting to do the project alone with a canal from the Mediterranean Sea.
This was an idea in Israel in the past but was stopped inin the hope of pursuing a solution with regional partners. Some experts in Jordan accuse the Israelis and the Palestinians of not being straightforward in their commitment to the project and believe that Jordan must move forward to solve its long-term water needs.
Thus, Jordan announced in that, if the Israelis and Palestinians do not join in developing the project, they will pursue it alone. While the Red to Dead Project may not be destined to happen, the fact that the issue is being addressed multilaterally between Arabs and Israelis is a positive sign.
Other avenues for multilateral cooperation between Jordan and other Arab countries on water also exist. Contaminated water last year alone caused thousands of Jordanians to be hospitalized. Jordan has the potential to be a regional hub for the production of solar energy. However, it needs huge investments, technological development and connection to grids.
There is some talk of potential cooperation between Jordan and Israel on this issue, as Israel needs energy and has an advanced alternative-technology sector. There are indications that Israelis are willing to enter the Jordanian market to develop solar energy, but the Jordanian side has been slow in moving forward. The most important of these lessons is that relations between Arabs and Israelis are inextricably linked to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
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Because of this, projects focused on increasing cooperation between the two sides will always face the hurdles, brought about by differing priorities on each side. For Jordanians and other Arabs, the desire for a just resolution to the Palestinian conflict will always outweigh the benefits of cooperating with Israel.
For the Israelis, security concerns will always trump the potential benefits of cooperating with Arab countries. Toggle display of website navigation Argument: Argument The Invaluable U. August 23,1: We live in the worst neighborhood in the world, surrounded by fundamentalist Islamists who would like nothing more than to see us killed. This agreement is a crucial component of our ability to defend ourselves. The agreement is also part of a deep and long-standing strategic alliance between Israel and the United States.
The foundations of the alliance are emotional and moral. In the two great struggles the West has faced since World War II — the Cold War and the war on terror — we stood together, shoulder to shoulder. And we also share many of the same values: The Israeli interest is clear: Former President John F.
The MoU with Israel is merely a fraction of that. A strong and secure Israel significantly reduces the risk that the United States will need to be involved in another war in the Middle East, which would be not only financially costly but also claim the lives of American soldiers.