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September 30, 2016 / 27 Elul, 5776
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Israel Sees Jordan: Things are Not All Quiet on the Eastern Front

A recent Jordanian-Arab Palestinian agreement to prevent the Judaization of Jerusalem, and an overwhelming majority of the Jordanian parliament urging prison release for the mass murderer of Israeli schoolgirls, reveal things are not all quiet on the Eastern front.


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Jordanian-Israeli ties fading?

Jordanian-Israeli ties fading?



With the cold but steady peace between Israel and Egypt growing ever shakier, at least there is still a rock solid peace treaty between Israel and her esteemed neighbor to the East, Jordan.

We hope.

Several fissures have appeared in that rock solid relationship of late, and they are troubling.

For example, late last month the acting leader of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II signed an agreement they described as one to jointly defend Jerusalem “from Israeli Judaization attempts.”

According to The Jerusalem Post, the Israeli Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, “would not comment on the agreement.”

But someone else with a strong interest is willing to comment.

Mudar Zahran is a Jordanian living in exile in London.  Zahran has been described as the leader of the Jordanian Opposition (or “Dignity“) movement, and he is also known for backing a “Jordan is Palestine” plan.

Zahran responded angrily to the public deal entered into by Abbas and Abdullah, penning an article published in Gatestone, “Abdullah and Abbas Playing the Jerusalem Game.”

Abdullah and Abbas claimed that Jordan’s role as custodian of the Muslim holy shrines in Jerusalem, as set out in the Israeli-Jordanian peace accords, gave Abdullah the legal right to prevent the Judaization of Jerusalem.

Zahran says the exact opposite is true:

The “Judaization” of the British Mandate for Palestine was the very thing the Hashemites were committed to support, in exchange for establishing an Arab state under Hashemite rule. The terms of the agreement were clear: Jews were to settle in the British Mandate for Palestine with no exclusion of Jerusalem.

In addition, as Zahran logically points out, how could a diplomatic agreement between two countries, Israel and Jordan, be the basis for the right of one to deny the rights of the other, in concert with a third entity not a party to the agreement?

So what is the Hashemite king doing?

Zahran, who has long advocated for a Jordanian future shorn of Hashemite control, believes the two Arab leaders, Abdullah and Abbas, are both in political trouble and hope that an alliance will increase their strength.  But the Jordanian in London believes it is more likely that the two will end up pulling each other down, as both are in precarious positions already.  Not only that, but it is the Arab Palestinians in Jordan whom Zahran believes will finally help deal the death blow to Abdullah.

RELEASE JORDANIAN MASS MURDERER OF YOUNG ISRAELI GIRLS?

Even more recently than the Abdullah-Abbas anti-Judaization agreement, it was revealed that 110 of the Jordanian Parliament’s 120 members  just signed a petition to release one of the most heinous Jordanian murderers of Jews in recent memory.

On whose behalf is the Jordanian legislators lobbying?

Jordanian Army Corporal Ahmed Daqameseh who, in 1997, opened fire on 8o Israeli middle school girls from the AMIT Fuerst School.  Seven girls were murdered, and five others and a teacher were injured when Daqameseh grabbed a fellow soldier’s M-16 and began firing at the girls from a guard tower.  He clambered down the tower and ran down a hill chasing after them.  It happened when the junior high school girls were on an annual school field trip to the “Island of Peace” (Naharayim) site.

The tourist site, approximately 2 hours north of Jerusalem, had been captured by Israel during the 1948 war, but the Jewish State handed it over to Jordanian control following the 1994 Jordanian-Israeli peace accord.

At the time of the massacre, Jordanians were genuinely contrite.  It was Daqameseh’s fellow soldiers who, screaming “madjoun” (mad man), overpowered him when his gun jammed.

King Abdullah II’s father, King Hussein, traveled to Israel to pay condolence calls to the grieving families, and the Jordanian military tribunal sentenced Daqameseh to life in prison, doing hard labor.  The prisoner was spared the death penalty because at the time he had been adjudged mentally incompetent.

But over time, Daqameseh was treated less as a pariah.  In February, 2011, Jordanian Justice Minister Hussein Mjali,  called Daqamseh a hero and added that “if a Jew murdered Arabs, they [the Israelis] would build him a statue.”

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

About the Author: Lori Lowenthal Marcus is the U.S. correspondent for The Jewish Press. A graduate of Harvard Law School, she previously practiced First Amendment law and taught in Philadelphia-area graduate and law schools. You can reach her by email: Lori@JewishPressOnline.com


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