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The Missing Peace, Consul-idation, Water Diplomacy


Protest in Jordan: Cancel Peace Treaty with Israel

Dalit Halevi, Israel National News, October 21st 2018

Recap:

Jordan is considering canceling its peace treaty with Israel as demonstrators and politicians in Amman ratchet up pressure on the Jordanian government.

The Context:

  • According to the 1994 peace treaty between Israel and Jordan, Baqoura and Ghumar – towns 70 miles north of Eilat [1] - were to be held under Israeli control for 25 years. Jordanian demonstrators called on the government to demand these territories back while also calling to cancel the peace agreement with Israel, expel the Israeli ambassador and close the Israeli embassy. If the land is returned, Jordan would have to buy it from its respective owners [2]. The Jordan Bar Association sent an official letter to Jordanian Prime Minister Omar Razzaz, urging him not to extend the Israeli lease of the lands [3].

  • Jordan’s parliament has more than once called to annul the peace treaty with Israel. Last year, it established a committee to reevaluate all formal ties with Israel. Such a decision requires the approval of the government, the royal palace and the council advising Jordan's King Abdullah II.

  • Israeli farmers have tended the land in question for years and will be forced to return it within a year unless the deal could be renegotiated [4]. "This announcement would mean a catastrophe for [the] 20-30 farmers and about 1,000 dunams that will be transferred to the Jordanians” said Eyal Blum, the head of the Central Arava Regional Council [5].”

  • Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel would enter into negotiations with Jordan over the matter and that “there is no doubt that the entire agreement is an important asset, important and valuable to both countries.”

Conversation Points:

  • Why is Jordan seeking to distance itself from Israel?

  • What might Jordan gain or lose from distancing itself from Israel?

  • How would the cancellation of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty effect Israeli national security?

In Blow to Palestinians, US Places Jerusalem Consulate Under Embassy

Alexander Fulbright, Times of Israel, October 18th 2018

Recap:

The US State Department will bring its main diplomatic mission to the Palestinians under the auspices of the US Embassy in Jerusalem. Officials claim the move is intended to create efficiencies - not to take a position on final status issues.

The Context:

  • Typically, the consul general reports to the ambassador, who has chief of mission authority over all US posts in the country. In contrast, the Jerusalem consulate historically had its own chief of mission authority [6]. Consul General Karen Sasahara, who traditionally dealt with Palestinian affairs, will return to Washington and Ambassador to Israel David Friedman will oversee US diplomatic ties with the Palestinians [7]. Sasahara’s responsibilities will now be handled by the newly established Palestinian Affairs Unit inside the Embassy [8].

  • The move was met with immediate anger from the Palestinian Authority (PA), who accused the White House of working to bring the entire West Bank under Israeli sovereignty. “The Trump Administration is making clear that it is working together with the Israeli Government to impose Greater Israel rather than the two-state solution on the 1967 border,” said Palestinian officials.

  • Last year the US became the first country to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and the PA has boycotted contact with the White House ever since [9]. The State Department proceeded to reduce economic aid to the Palestinian Authority, halt its financial contribution to the United Nations Relief Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) and close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s diplomatic mission in Washington, revoking the visas of all Palestinian representatives in the process [10].

Conversation Points:

  • Is the consulate downgrade, as well as the other measure against the PA following the embassy move, a direct result of the PA’s hostile attitude towards the US?

  • Should any foreign government be entitled to US aid while publicly disparaging it?

EcoPeace Middle East Receives 2018 Stanford Bright Award

ISRAEL21c, October 21st 2018

Recap

EcoPeace Middle East, a collaborative organization of Israelis, Palestinians and Jordanians that seeks to protect shared environmental spaces, was awarded the Stanford Bright Award.

The Context:

  • Each year, Stanford Law School gives the Bright Award which includes a $100,000 prize and an opportunity to deliver a public lecture at Stanford University in California. This year’s award recognized EcoPeace’s work in bringing together Jordanian, Palestinian and Israeli stakeholders to rehabilitate the Jordan River. “Their work has been foundational in the field of environmental peacebuilding and their current projects are on the cutting edge, ambitiously tackling the world’s most difficult environmental, peace, and security challenges,” said the awards committee.

  • Since its founding more than three decades ago, EcoPeace Middle East has led the way in resolving conflicts regarding water conservation and sanitation on the Jordan River, the Dead Sea and Gaza. Due to EcoPeace Middle East’s efforts, water from the Jordan River reached the sea of Galilee in 2013 – the first-time fresh water has been allowed to flow between the two bodies in over a decade [11].

Conversation Points:

  • Does Ecopeace prove that change can happen on the ground despite political deadlock?

Notes:

  1. King Abdullah Declines To Renew Part Of Jordan's Peace Deal With Israel, Herb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, October 21st 2018

  2. King: Jordan Will Terminate Baqoura, Ghumar Annexes In Peace Treaty, Jordan Times, October 21st 2018

  3. Jordan To Nix Parts Of Peace Treaty With Israel, Reclaim Territories, Daniel Salami & Itamar Eichner, Ynetnews, October 21st 2018

  4. Ibid.

  5. Jordan Canceling Annexes Of Peace Treaty With Israel, King Abdullah Says, Jack Khoury And Noa Landau, Haaretz, October 21st 2018

  6. Us Downgrades Jerusalem Diplomatic Mission To Palestinians. Associated Press, October 18th 2018

  7. U.S. To Merge Diplomatic Mission Serving Palestinians With Embassy In Israel, Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, October 18th 2018

  8. Us Folds Diplomatic Representation To The Palestinians Into Its Jerusalem Embassy, Andrew Carey And Jennifer Hansler, Cnn, October 18th 2018

  9. U.S. To Merge Consulate That Serves Palestinians With Jerusalem Embassy To Israel, Amir Tibon, Haaretz, October 18th 2018

  10. U.S. To Merge Diplomatic Mission Serving Palestinians With Embassy In Israel, Ruth Eglash, Washington Post, October 18th 2018

  11. Middle Eastern Sustainability Nonprofit Founders Receive 2018 Stanford Bright Award, Melissa Santos, Stanford Daily, October 5th 2018