Skip to main content

Jordan launches diplomatic offensive against US Jerusalem move

How far can Jordan’s king go in opposing the US president's Jerusalem stance without risking a backlash that could hurt his strategic relationship with Washington?

Apart from the Palestinians, Jordan stands to lose the most from President Donald Trump’s bombshell announcement on Dec. 6 that the United States recognizes Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and that it will relocate its embassy there. Jordan's King Abdullah took an accordingly hard-line position denouncing the decision while mobilizing international and regional diplomatic efforts to stand up to it. On Dec. 13, the king told representatives of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) at its summit in Istanbul that the US move was “dangerous” and “a threat to peace.” He added that there was “no alternative to Jerusalem as the key to ending the historical conflict in the Middle East.”

Jordan was quick to react after Trump announced his decision, calling for an emergency meeting of the Arab League’s foreign ministers in Cairo on Dec. 9. Its own foreign minister, Ayman Safadi, announced that Jordan would host an “extraordinary” Arab summit without specifying a date. Safadi called US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Dec. 11 to present Jordan’s point of view and traveled to Brussels to meet with EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini on Dec. 12. Mogherini urged support for Abdullah as “the custodian of Jerusalem’s holy places,” calling him a “very wise man.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.