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Israel-Jordan ties, peace treaty tested by Gaza war, deepening divide

Jordan has recalled its ambassador to Israel, but for the moment it is not considering severing diplomatic ties, say Israeli experts.
BERLIN, GERMANY - OCTOBER 17: Jordanian King Abdullah II and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz (not pictured) speak to the media following talks at the Chancellery on October 17, 2023 in Berlin, Germany. The two leaders are meeting shortly before Scholz's departure for Israel and Egypt. Israel is seemingly on the verge of invading Gaza following the harrowing attacks by Hamas fighters in Israel that left over 1,300 people dead. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The longer the Israel-Hamas war drags on, the more statements, condemnations and diplomatic gestures Jordan is sending. The growing criticism has Israeli diplomats worried about the repercussions of the conflict on the country’s relations with the Hashemite Kingdom, with whom it has had a peace treaty for almost 30 years.

Jordan's concerns about a Palestinian-Israeli implosion are not new. For years, Amman has warned that the status quo is untenable and that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's policies have weakened Hamas' rival Palestinian Liberation Organization and the two-state solution. 

For decades, Jordan has been advocating for a negotiated two-state solution. Its interest lies in the big demographic component of nearly 40% of the population being of Palestinian descent, sharing a long border with the West Bank and Israel, as well as serving as the custodian of the Muslim holy places in Jerusalem, first and foremost at the Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif compound. 

Despite the 1994 peace treaty with Israel, bilateral relations have soured in the last decade, mainly over tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank and in east Jerusalem. The current Hamas war has pushed tensions to the brink.

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