Relations between Jordan and the Palestinian Authority (PA) are under stress, as a number of analysts and commentators in Amman have confirmed to Al-Monitor. One indication was Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour’s statement to Israeli Radio’s Arabic service May 23 that he hoped there was no “secret back-channel negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians … that would lead to a poor agreement like the Oslo Accord.” This was not the first time that Ensour had expressed such concerns. Pundits here were quick to point out that despite a Palestinian denial that such negotiations existed, the prime minister’s statement confirmed that bilateral ties were not at their best.
Political commentator Orieb al-Rintawi agreed that relations between Amman and Ramallah are going through “a rough phase.” He told Al-Monitor that it appears “Jordan does not trust Palestinian assurances that there are no back-channel negotiations with Israel. Furthermore, even if such negotiations are taking place, Jordan is not sure about the ability of the Palestinian negotiator to reach a good deal.” He pointed out that Jordan has “deep strategic interests in the outcome of final status negotiations because they affect the future of East Jerusalem, borders, water and the thorny issue of refugees.”