US President Donald Trump’s Dec. 6 proclamation on Jerusalem appears to have complicated efforts to restore Jordan-Israel ties. The two countries have been embroiled in conflicts over repeated incursions on Haram al-Sharif (which Israel calls the Temple Mount) by Jewish settlers and the July 23 killing by a guard of two Jordanian citizens at the Israeli Embassy in Amman. Since then, Amman has refused to allow the Israeli ambassador and embassy staff to return to the kingdom until the assailant is put on trial and families of the victims are compensated. The row has threatened work on a regional water and energy project linking the Red Sea to the Dead Sea, an undertaking of high strategic importance to Jordan.
But Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and to move the American embassy there has added a new twist to the strained relations between the two neighbors who signed a peace treaty in 1994. Encouraged by the government, tens of thousands of Jordanians have been protesting the US move following Friday prayers in Amman and other major cities across the kingdom. Enraged protesters have called on their government to abrogate the 23-year-old peace treaty and all bilateral agreements with “the Zionist entity.” Enmity toward Israel has reached new heights as Jordanians expressed solidarity with Palestinians in the occupied territories who have been clashing with Israeli soldiers almost every day since the Trump announcement.