Jordan’s King Abdullah II refused to speak with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by phone, and did not specify a date for a future meeting with Benny Gantz, the alternate prime minister and defense minister, who asked to meet with the monarch to discuss the US President Donald Trump’s plan, Ma’an reported Monday (العاهل الأردني يرفض محادثة نتنياهو هاتفيا).
A Jordanian official told Ma’an that this rude behavior on the part of the king, whose very life depends on Israel’s protection, never mind his country’s supply of water and natural gas, is a response to the crisis afflicting Jordanian-Israeli relations – the unilateral annexation Benjamin Netanyahu intends to undertake in July.
Ma’an told its readers that Netanyahu is lying when he claims that his plan is consistent with President Trump’s, stressing that the American side has instructed the Israeli government to wait on this matter, especially considering Jordan’s strong opposition to a unilateral annexation of about 30% of the 1967 liberated territories in Judea and Samaria.
The same Jordanian source indicated that the king ordered the royal court not to set a date for a meeting with Gantz, who requested a coordination meeting to negotiate Israeli coordination of the sovereignty plan with Jordan.
Jordan has informed Israeli officials that it will not accept any unilateral or forced annexation, and that any annexation is a violation of international laws and an occupation of the Palestinian land. According to Jordan, it is working with Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Egypt alongside the Palestinian leadership and with the support of the European Union, to pressure the United States to discourage the Netanyahu government from pursuing its “ambitious expansion,” as the Jordanian source put it.
The Hashemite royal house has relied on Israeli support in keeping its kings and other royal family members alive since King Abdullah I was assassinated while attending Friday prayers at the entrance of the Al-Aqsa mosque by a Palestinian who feared that the King was going to make peace with Israel. In 1994, Israel agreed to give Jordan 50,000,000 cubic meters of water each year and for Jordan to own 75% of the water from the Yarmouk River. Israel also agreed to help Jordan use desalination technology in order to find additional water. And, finally, Jordan’s National Electricity Company (NEPCO) receives natural gas from Israel’s Leviathan offshore field. Israel will provide Jordan 45 billion cubic meters of gas over 15 years.