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Related Quarterly Updates


Significant meetings this quarter revolved around the Jordan-Israel treaty signed 10/26/94. PM Rabin met with King Hussein in Amman 1/12-13 about implementation of the treaty. On 12/6, Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu met with King Hussein and Crown Prince Hassan in Amman; he emphasized that Likud no longer believes "Jordan is Palestine" and called for increased economic ties between the two countries. On 2/5 in Amman, King Hussein briefed 29-member Knesset delegation on peace process; the delegation then dined with 30 Jordanian MPs.

Diplomatic Relations

In implementation of the treaty, Israel and Jordan established full diplomatic relations on 11/27, opening their respective mbassies in Amman and Tel Aviv on 12/11. Marwan Muasher, head of U.S. Jordan Information Bureau and of Jordan's negotiating team, was appointed ambassador to Israel on 11/27 and, after some delay, Shimon Shamir, former ambassador to Egypt, was named Israel's ambassador on 2/15.


Israel on 1/30 withdrew from 132 sq. mi. of Jordanian territory captured in 1967 in compliance with the peace treaty. On 2/9, the remaining 17 sq. mi. were returned, armies were deployed along the newly demarcated borders, and 300 Israeli farmers were given entry permits so they could continue working farms.


The Jordanian cabinet on 2/ 11 approved a bill revoking all laws contravening the Jordan-Israel treaty, formally lifting the boycott on Israel (actually lifted on 11/16) and annulling a law on selling real estate to Israelis.


By mid-December, all joint committees on implementation had met, presented agendas, and formed subcommittees for specific treaty sections. Throughout the quarter, numerous meetings were held by the Jordanian-Israeli joint committees and subcommittees on transportation, aviation, security and borders, investment, industrial cooperation, monetary and banking issues, water, health, energy and telecommunications, education, science and culture, and so on to formulate outlines for meeting the goals of the treaty and to discuss investment projects and joint development

A first shipping agreement was reached in mid-November on shipping licenses, radio communications, and allowing free passage of small vessels on both sides of the Gulf of Elat.

In mid-January, the two sides agreed to build a railroad with EU assistance linking Irbid and Haifa, and Aqaba and Elat.

Toward the end of the quarter, some progress had been made on drafting a free trade agreement and on establishing air corridors and routes between the countries. Royal Jordanian Airlines and El Al agreed on joint tourist packages on 2/5, and a separate agreement on tourism was initialed on 2/6. That same day, "direct" postal service between Israel and Jordan began, though no mail will go by land and, pending the conclusion of an aviation agreement, all mail will be routed through Cyprus.

Meanwhile, Jordan reduced telephone rates to Israel and the occupied territories, where international calls go through the Israeli exchange, to half their former level.



Several meetings between high-ranking Jordanian and Israeli officials occurred this quarter, focusing on bilateral and regional affairs and projects stemming from the Jordan-Israel peace treaty: King Hussein met with PM Rabin in Aqaba on 3/9; Israeli FM Peres and Jordanian Crown Prince Hassan met in the presence of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl in Bonn on 3/15; on the same day, Israeli Dep. FM Yossi Beilin and Jordanian FM 'Abd al-Karim al-Kabariti met in Amman; FM Peres met Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan in Amman on 4/24; PM Rabin toured Jordan's historical sites with King Hussein and Queen Nur on 5/1; and PM Rabin met Crown Prince Hassan in Amman on 5/2.

Diplomatic Relations

On 4/6, Jordan's first ambassador to Israel, Marwan Muasher, arrived in Tel Aviv and Israel's first ambassador to Jordan, Shimon Shamir, arrived in Amman to take their posts.


By 5/10, 24 subsidiary agreements (covering aviation, agriculture, development, energy, the environment, tourism, trade, water, and so on) had been concluded and signed in accordance with the 10/26 treaty. The first Jordanian commercial flight was permitted to cross through Israeli airspace on 3/10. On 4/3, Israel requested the UN remove its Truce Supervision Organization observer force from the Jordan-Israel border.

economic cooperation: on 3/13 on trade, transportation, and water; on 4/2 and 4/4 (with the U.S.) to discuss the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal and other water projects; on 4/4 (with Egpt and the U.S.) on joint projects (esp. fisheries); and on 4/24 (with 250 business and government representatives fr. Jordan, Israel, and the U.S.) to discuss water energy, telecommunications, transportation, environment, and trade. Israel also used its good offices in lobbying Congress to go through with plans (cut back by the House 3/3 and the Senate 3/16) to forgive Jordan's debt. 

Despite these successes, relations were strained by Sen. Robert Dole's initiative to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, Rep. Newt Gingrich's companion bill (both 5/9), and Israeli land expropriations in East Jerusalem (4/27, 5/3). After the 4/27 seizure, Jordan allowed a previously banned antinormalization rally; many parliament members called for a suspension of the 10/26 treaty; and few Jordanian officials invited to Israel's independence day celebration in Amman 5/4 attended. Following Israel's suspension of the 4/27 seizure on 5/22, Jordan again banned the antinormalization rally.

Even before the Jerusalem issues arose, there was a growing sense of discontent with the peace agreement at the popular level. On 2/21, opposition members of parliament filibustered to delay the vote on a bill (accepted by the cabinet 2/11) to repeal trade and land-owning laws that contravene the Jordan-Israel treaty. (The bill will come up for vote again when parliament reconvenes this summer.) A number of unions, most notably the Dentists' Association (4/25), banned members from treating or working with Israelis (man of whom have been coming to Jordanor cheaper medical attention since signing of peace treaty); and incidents of Israeli tourists defacing historical sites were reported.

Tensions caused by the East Jerusalem land issue eased when Israel suspended its confiscation order on 5/22, with King Hussein reinstating his ban on the antinormalization rally in Amman he had previously authorized. During the quarter, King Hussein met with PM Rabin (in the presence of German Chancellor Helmut Kohl) on 6/5 for the inauguration of a $450-m. German-financed water development project for the Yarmuk. On 6/22, FM Peres and Crown Prince Hassan met in Amman to discuss water, technical, and scientific cooperation; and, on 7/25, Crown Prince Hassan accompanied a joint Jordanian-Israeli relief mission to Bosnia.


Under the terms of the 10/ 26 treaty, the water pipeline from Lake Tiberias to Israel began operating on 6/ 20. On the other hand, the Red Sea-Dead Sea canal called for in the treaty was determined to be economically impractical in a feasibility study released 6/28 by the Israeli National and Economic Planning Authority.

Joint Jordanian-Israeli committees met as follows:

  • Follow-up, on 6/19 in Elat, to review progress achieved by subcommittees, with emphasis on transportation.
  • Trade, on 6/25-26 at the Dead Sea Hotel to finalize an agreement on exports and research and development. The accord, which was to be signed in late July, was delayed by Jordan until Israel makes further progress on other negotiating tracks.
  • Security, on 6/26, to announce plans for a direct emergency phone line between air force commands. The air forces will also coordinate on flight security and joint search-and-rescue missions and will exchange periodic visits.
  • At the private business level, a group representing the Aqaba Chamber of Commerce held talks on joint cooperation and exchanges of expertise on 6/11 with their counterparts in Elat. In Amman 7/18-20, 300 Jordanian and Israeli-Arabusinessmen held an executive meeting-attended by King Hussein, Crown Prince Hassan, and FM 'Abd al-Karim Kabariti-to reestablish trade links and define areas of cooperation (e.g., producing goods inJordan to Israeli specifications for export to Israel or third countries via Israel; sharing Israeli technology).


On 6/8, Jordanian parliament opened an extraordinary session to address lifting the Israeli boycott and overturning three laws prohibiting dealings with Israelis. Despite heated and persistent opposition by some members of parliament, the bill was passed by the legal committee (17-3 on 6/20); the finance and judiciary committees; the lower house (51- 21 on 7/26); and the upper house (45-3 on 7/31). The 7/31 decision also included new legislation on "economic and neighborly cooperation" that would allow Israelis to buy Jordanian land if the Knesset passes legislation allowing Jordanians to buy land in Israel.

On 6/23, Israel removed Jordan from the absentees' property law, which stipulated that Jordanian property in Israel be put under state control. In August, however, Israel passed a law to prevent Palestinian refugees in Jordan from reclaiming the "absentee property." Jordanian Amb. to Israel Marwan Mu'asher protested that such decisions should be reached through negotiation, after the refugee talks have been held, not unilaterally by Israeli legislation.

On 6/23, Jordan refused an Israeli offer to employ Jordanian workers in Israel, saying more progress must first be made on other negotiating tracks.


After increasing media reports of such transactions, on 3/15, the Jordanian parliament passed a law barring the sale or lease of land to Israeli citizens in and around the ancient city of Petra. In a debate over the measure, many Jordanian lawmakers echoed the sentiments of their colleague, MP Assaf Shubki (relayed by Anadolu News Agency the same day): “Our national sovereignty is more important than foreign investments. . . . This law is a victory for the Palestinian people and it is the least we can do for them.”

In the 2 years since the National Electric Power Company (NEPC) of Jordan 1st signed (9/3/2014) a letter of intent to import natural gas from the international consortium of companies contracted by Israel to develop its offshore Leviathan natural gas field, the proposed deal had been bogged down in Israeli bureaucracy and drawn heavy criticism from both the Jordanian and Palestinian people. This quarter, however, Israel and the NEPC made the $10-b. deal official on 9/26 to outcries of protest in Jordanian activist circles. The NEPC is set to import around 45 b. m3 of natural gas over a period of 15 years once the field starts producing.

Although the NEPC claimed that the deal would save Jordan $600 m. per year, and Jordan’s industry minister said that Amman was demanding that the Israeli govt. allow more Jordanian exports in the West Bank and subsidize the cost of a gas pipeline as a corollary to the deal, the announcement sparked a renewed swell of criticism in Jordan. Opponents of the deal complained that it would make Jordan dependent on Israel and effectively reinforce the Israeli occupation. Dozens of Jordanians protested outside the NEPC’s headquarters in Amman after the deal was announced, and thousands more joined the protests as they spread from the capital to the rest of the country on 9/28 and 9/29. The Islamic Action Front, which had won 15 seats in Jordan’s parliament earlier in 9/2016, urged (9/26) the govt. to cancel the deal, and Jordan BDS, a local chapter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said (9/27) that “signing this agreement blatantly ignores the will of the Jordanian people who principally and unequivocally rejected the agreement through 2 years of demonstrations across the country, national petitions signed by Jordanians and their political parties, trade unions and civil society organizations.”

Jordan played a key role in the crisis at Haram al-Sharif in 7/2017. Amman funds the Islamic Waqf, which led the 2-week boycott against the new Israeli security measures, and Jordan’s King Abdullah was involved in the regional and international talks on resolving the crisis (see “The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict” above). A fatal shooting at the Israeli embassy compound in Amman further entrenched Jordan in the conflict, resulting in a standoff with the Israeli govt. at the height of the crisis.

In a residential building used by embassy staff on 7/23, an Israeli security guard shot and killed 2 Jordanian civilians. The circumstances of the shooting were contested. In the immediate aftermath of the incident, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs endorsed the action, saying that the guard was defending himself from a politically motivated stabbing attack. It was later reported that one of those killed, a 17-year-old, was delivering furniture, while the other, a 51-year-old orthopedic surgeon, was the apartment owner. Some witnesses alleged that the incident stemmed from a dispute over payment. Meanwhile, the Israeli govt. refused to allow the Jordanian police to interrogate the guard, citing diplomatic immunity. After hundreds of Jordanians came out to protest the killing, the Israeli cabinet decided (7/23) to evacuate all 30 embassy staffers for fear of anti-Israel riots and reprisals. The Jordanian authorities, however, refused to allow the guard to leave the country without a proper interrogation.

The Israeli govt. deployed Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman to Amman to negotiate the next day, and he secured the return of the entire embassy staff to Israel that night, including the guard. Abdullah spoke with Netanyahu by phone on 7/24 as well. According to an Israeli official, the Jordanian police took down the guard’s statement about the incident before he left the country, but they were not allowed to question him fully.

The resolution did not sit well with the Jordanian govt., particularly after Netanyahu personally welcomed the guard home to Israel on 7/24. Abdullah called (7/27) Netanyahu a “political showoff” and said his embrace of the guard was “provocative and destabilizes security and encourages extremism in the region.” Abdullah also said that Israel’s response to the crisis would directly affect bilateral relations. Jordan’s atty. gen., Akram Masadeh, announced (7/27) that he intended to pursue the case in international courts, while the Jordanian authorities informed (7/26) the Israeli govt. that the Israeli embassy would not be allowed to reopen unless Israel carried out a full investigation, as required under the Vienna Convention.

Under increasing pressure from Jordan, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced (7/28) an investigation of the incident and promised to brief Jordanian officials on the process. Israel’s Ministry of Justice then announced (8/4) a preliminary investigation to be overseen by the state prosecutor’s office. A Jordanian spokesperson called (8/4) the investigation a “step in the right direction,” and a senior Jordanian official later said (8/11) Amman would wait to see what sort of legal action the Israelis might take before making a final decision on the reopening of the embassy.

Neither the Israeli nor the Jordanian govt. made any effort to restore diplomatic relations after an Israeli security guard killed 2 Jordanians on 7/23 and the Israeli govt.’s subsequent recall of its embassy staff from Amman. In the wake of the incident, Netanyahu had welcomed the guard back to Israel, embracing him publicly, and the Jordanian authorities vetoed the return of embassy staff to Amman until Israel carried out a full investigation into the killing, as required under the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (see JPS 47 [1]). After mos. of stagnant backchannel talks, Israeli authorities reportedly threatened to suspend the 12/9/2013 bilateral water-sharing agreement, which provided for joint construction of a water desalination plant on the Gulf of Aqaba and a pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea (see JPS 43 [3] and 44 [4]), unless the Jordanian govt. allowed Amb. Einat Schlein and her staff to return (Channel 10 [Israel], 11/13). “The position of the Foreign Ministry and the PM’s office is that we cannot have a situation where on the one hand the Jordanians do not allow us to reopen the embassy and on the other hand we continue to advance projects that are important to them as if nothing had happened,” said an unnamed Israeli official (11/13). In response, Jordan reportedly threatened to proceed on the project alone or to bring Saudi Arabia on as a substitute partner.


After months of tension and uncertainty following the 7/23 killing of two Jordanians at the hands of an Israeli Embassy security guard and the subsequent recall of the Israeli Embassy staff from Amman (see JPS 47 [1] and [2]), the Israeli government took steps this quarter to repair some of the damage in its relationship with Jordan.

Last quarter, the Israeli government had threatened to suspend its 12/9/2013 watersharing agreement with Jordan, providing for joint construction of a water desalination plant on the Gulf of Aqaba and a pipeline from the Red Sea to the Dead Sea (see JPS 43 [3] and 44 [4]), if the Jordanian government did not allow the embassy staff to return. The Jordanian government, which insisted from the beginning that the embassy staff would not be allowed to return until Israel carried out a full investigation into the 7/23 incident, reportedly held to its position, expressing a willingness to proceed on the project alone or to bring on Saudi Arabia as a replacement partner (see JPS 47 [2]). In mid-11/2017, Water and Irrigation Minister Hazem al-Naser sent a letter to the Israeli authorities requesting an official answer regarding Israel’s commitment to the project (AlGhad, 11/27). There were no reports of an official Israeli response, and tensions persisted until mid-1/2018 when a Jordanian spokesperson announced (1/18) that Israel had formally apologized for both the killing of the two Jordanian citizens and that of a Jordanian judge on 3/10/2014 (see JPS 43 [4]). He added that Israel had pledged to take legal measures with respect to the 7/23 incident, and to provide compensation for the families of the victims. Hours after the Jordanian statement, Israeli prime minister Netanyahu’s office announced (1/18) that the Israeli Embassy in Amman would reopen.

By the end of the quarter, some Israeli diplomats had returned to the embassy in Amman, and Israel’s Foreign Ministry appointed a senior ministry official, Amir Weisbrod, as the new ambassador to Jordan (Times of Israel, 1/30; Haaretz, 2/8). However, Israeli sources said (1/21) that the Israeli government had no plans to actually prosecute the security guard responsible for the 7/23 killings. They indicated that the Foreign Ministry and Shin Bet intended to merely review protocols surrounding the guard’s behavior and share the results with their Jordanian counterparts. It was therefore unclear whether the Red Sea–Dead Sea partnership or the broader Israeli-Jordanian relationship was fully back on track.

The Jordanian government accepted the credentials of incoming Israeli ambassador Amir Weisbrod this quarter, ending the diplomatic crisis pursuant to the killing of 2 Jordanians in Amman by an Israeli embassy security guard on 7/23/2017 (see JPS 47 [2, 3]). The new ambassador took up his post in Amman on 4/16, and two weeks later Israel’s Economy Minister Eli Cohen met with Jordanian, Palestinian, and Japanese officials to discuss a Japanese proposal to expand a joint industrial zone near Jericho.

                King Abdullah II of Jordan decided to not renew 2 annexes of the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan after protest had been held for a couple of days in Jordan. The New York Times pointed out that the cancellation also could be serving as a distraction from a new tax bill being rolled out by the Jordanian government. The 2 annexes had allowed Israel to lease land in al-Baqura and al-Ghamr that belongs to Jordan. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded by saying that Israel would seek to negotiate a new agreement that would allow Israel to keep leasing the land. Jordan did not violate the peace treaty because either side could end the annexes 25 years after the treaty was signed.

               As tension rose at Haram al-Sharif in February and March, so did tensions in Jordanian-Israeli relations. Jordan, which is the custodian of the Islamic holy site in Jerusalem and controls the Islamic Waqf running the al-Aqsa Mosque, voiced its dissatisfaction with recent Israeli impasses on Haram al-Sharif. On 19 February, Israel closed the al-Rahma Gate, arrested 5 Palestinian worshippers, and Israeli forces escorted some 70 Israeli settlers to al-Aqsa Mosque. This prompted a member of the Jordanian parliament to call on the Jordanian government to recall its ambassador to Israel and dismiss the Israeli ambassador to Jordan. Israel subsequently arrested 60 people in East Jerusalem on 21 February on suspicions of incitement at the Friday prayers. On February 24, Israeli police detained the Jordanian-appointed head of the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem, prompting the Jordanian minister for Islamic affairs to call the Israeli action “dangerous and an unacceptable escalation.” On 7 March, a delegation of Israeli officials visited Jordan to discuss a solution to the ongoing tension (for more on Israeli violations in regard to Haram al-Sharif, see Palestinian-Israeli Conflict).

                Tensions between Jordan and Israel continued from last quarter into this quarter as Israel continued its transgressions on the Haram al-Sharif compound (see Palestinian-Israeli Conflict). In the beginning of April, the U.S. proposed to mediate between Jordan and Israel to resolve the conflict between the 2 countries regarding the Israeli transgressions. This was promptly rejected by Jordan, as they saw the U.S. as preferential to Israel, citing the U.S.’s moving its embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. The conflict between Israel and Jordan regarding Haram al-Sharif remained unresolved by the end of the quarter as Jordanian officials sustained their objections to Israeli settler raids on the compound and Israeli restrictions on the work of the Islamic Waqf employees.

                Internally, King Abdullah II fired several senior officials, including his intelligence chief and advisor on policy in late April and beginning of May as reports were circulating about a plot to destabilize Jordan. Officially, the senior officials were fired because of shortcomings in the intelligence system and findings that some officials were advancing personal interests over those of the country. Shortly after King Abdullah II fired the senior officials, all Jordanian ministers resigned their positions in order for the King to reshuffle the government.

               Jordanian prime minister Omar Razzaz criticized the unveiled 1st part of the U.S. peace plan, saying that economic peace cannot solve the conflict. Jordan maintains the position that the creation of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as the capital is the only “road to peace.”

               Jordan also refused Israel’s attempt to deport a Palestinian from East Jerusalem to Jordan by denying him entry. The Palestinian man has lived in East Jerusalem for more than 20 years, since he was 12 years old, and it is also where his wife and children live. The man was taken back to Givon prison in Ramle, where he is held without charges or a trial. Tensions between Israel and Jordan continued to intensify in August when 1st it was reported that Jordanian king Abdullah II refused a request made by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet, and again later in August when Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan said Jewish worshippers should be allowed to pray in the Haram al-Sharif compound in what would be a change to the status quo. A spokesperson from the Jordanian foreign ministry said such a change would have “dangerous repercussions” and Jordan summoned Israel’s ambassador to Jordan for a reprimand.

Quarterly Updates for (1 Jan 1970 — 1 Jan 1970)

After months of tension and uncertainty following the 7/23 killing of two Jordanians at the hands of an Israeli Embassy security guard and the subsequent recall of the Israeli Embassy staff from Amman (see JPS 47 [1] and [2]), the Israeli government took steps this quarter to repair some of the damage in its relationship with Jordan.