Jordan and Israel set for US-brokered rapprochement under Naftali Bennett

الرابط المختصر


facebook sharing button

twitter sharing button

whatsapp sharing button

messenger sharing button

sharethis sharing button

An upcoming visit by Jordan's King Abdullah II to Washington is set to unleash a new era in diplomatic relations between Jordan and Israel after a period of tensions under the former Israeli prime minister, analysts and former officials tell Middle East Eye.

Relations between Jordan and Israel are slowly returning to normal after last month’s election of Naftali Bennett as prime minister, with his government seeking to ameliorate ties with Amman as a foreign policy priority. 

The two countries, which have a 1994 peace agreement, have been at loggerheads during the tenure of former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu due to a range of disputes between him and Jordan’s King Abdullah II, including the latter's opposition to Donald Trump's controversial Middle East plan and his tense relation with the Saudi crown prince.

The tit-for-tat row between Israel and the Hashemite kingdom had reached a peak in March with Israel's decision to cancel Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah's visit to the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.

The decision led Amman to deny Netanyahu’s helicopter access to Jordanian airspace the very next day, as he was headed to the United Arab Emirates. Netanyahu then allegedly refused to supply Jordan with water in retaliation. However, he reportedly changed his mind after a call from US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to his Israeli counterpart, Gabi Ashkenazi.

The election of a new Israeli prime minister and the advent of the Biden administration has arguably changed the equation.

Mamdouh Abadi, former deputy prime minister of Jordan, said that Washington is taking advantage of the change in Israeli leadership to bring the two Middle Eastern countries closer.

“There is good chemistry between the Jordanian and American leaders. Today the US is trying to push forward peace between Jordan and Israel now that there is a majority in the government that is opposed to Netanyahu,” he told Middle East Eye.

“If the Americans pressure Israel, there will surely be a change in stalled issues, such as the two-state solution and settlement expansion. Jordan can play a crucial role in restarting the talks with Israel,” he added. 

Post-Netanyahu detente

In the latest sign of detente, Bennett has turned to water to cool off the relationship with the Hashemite kingdom. He even met secretly with King Abdullah II earlier this month, and informed the king that Israel is willing to sell water to Jordan. 

The position comes in contrast to that of Netanyahu, who had refused to approve the supply of water to Jordan as provided under the 1994 Wadi Araba peace agreement. Under the agreement, Israel pumps water out of the Jordan river and transfers it back to Jordan during dry spells, as it remains one of the world's most water-scarce states. 

This summer, Jordan is suffering a severe water shortage. It has only 400 million cubic meters, while it needs 900 million according to the Ministry of Water. Jordan had a hard time just to receive an additional eight million cubic meters during Netanyahu’s reign. At one time the former Israeli premier even threatened to make “Jordan thirsty.”


When approached by MEE for comment, Khashoui did not confirm or deny the report, while the website later removed any reference to the visit in his article.

A number of Jordanian political analysts told MEE that the king’s meeting with Biden will feature above all the Palestinian issue and Jerusalem. That includes the urgent need to stop forced evictions of Palestinians in Jerusalem and the need to preserve the Hashemite custodianship of holy places.

Other issues expected in the talks include relations with Syria and the US permission for Jordan and Syria to develop better economic relations, bypassing the Caesar Act, which places financial sanctions on the Bashar al-Assad regime for war crimes against the Syrian population.  

MP Mohammad al-Momani, a former minister and spokesman of the Jordanian government, told MEE that the new US administration “appears to have a closer understanding of the Jordanian position regarding the region”.

The Washington talks, he said, will be focused on “how to reach the two-state solution under the new Israeli government and a willing Palestinian leadership.” He added the Syrian issue will be discussed in terms of its importance for regional stability.

Hamadeh Farneh, a former MP and commentator on Palestinian and Israeli relations, said the visit of the king to Washington will include discussions related to financial aid to the Palestinians, the reopening of the Palestinian mission in Washington, and the reaffirmation by Biden of the two-state solution “despite the fact that it is hard to implement”.

Farneh believes that Israeli officials will meet with the Jordanians in Washington following the king’s meeting with Biden, but it will not be unconditional.

“Jordan has a number of conditions before agreeing to regular meetings with the Israeli occupiers, including the need to respect the sanctity of Al-Aqsa mosque, the need to stop settlements, and permission for better Jordanian-Palestinian economic ties,” he told MEE.

أضف تعليقك