The Jekyll & Hyde Israel-Jordan Relationship - Arab-Israeli Conflict - Jerusalem Post
Without a shift in Turkey's economic connections to Israel, Ankara's port as an important gateway to landlocked countries such as Jordan. Since their inception, Israel-Turkey relations have been characterized by ups and .. shared by key Sunni Arab countries, including Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. The strategic interests of Jordan and Israel overlap to a remarkable, multilayered fashion. Both countries have shared the unenviable position.
Although they brought an end to the state of war, opened diplomatic channels and achieved small amounts of economic cooperation, it did not bring the active economic, cultural, social and political harmonization that creates sustainable levels of cooperation and benefits for all parties. The Israeli Peace Dividend The size of the peace dividend for each side in a state of warm peace is staggering.
Although the Israeli economy would suffer a net loss because of the cost of change for the first year, the economy would grow rapidly in subsequent years. While the formulas for the peace dividend and marginal increase in GDP are the same as the formulas used for the Israeli Peace Dividend, the cost of change is calculated differently because it consists of compensation to Palestinian refugees, infrastructure costs of the Palestinian state and interest.
The Arab marginal increase in GDP would come from factors similar to those used for the Israelis with the addition of increased oil exports to Israel and technological cooperation with Israel to increase economic productivity.
SinceJordan has dealt with Israel in a pragmatic fashion, likely because the two share a very long border. Prince Abdullah of Jordan, who later became King Abdullah, agreed to the UN partition plan ofwhich called for Arabs and Jews to live side by side in two separate states.
However, Jordan participated in the war, mostly due to Arab pressure, and gained control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, later annexing the West Bank in King Hussein also believed that his country could gain more from peace with Israel and maintained a de facto peace, despite occasional cross-border skirmishes. Several historians argue that if King Hussein had not taken part in the war, Jordan would have retained control over East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
But it is uncertain what impact domestic pressures would have had on the regime. Each region would have had its own government and judicial system, Amman being the capital of the Jordanian territories and Jerusalem of the Palestinian territories. The London agreement had outlined procedures for an international conference that would focus on peace negotiations and addressed all key issues in regard to the Occupied Territories.
Inthe State of Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization signed a Declaration of Principles that paved the way for Jordan to negotiate its own formal peace agreement with Israel.
The parties agreed to make the final border the demarcation line, with some compromises that included land swaps and a guarantee of 25 years of private use to Israeli farmers whose property would come under Jordanian sovereignty. The Treaty of Peace was signed on October 26, The refugee issue was left for final-status negotiations; however, Israel committed to addressing the issue in accordance with international legitimacy and law, including relevant UN resolutions on the matter.
The signing of the Declaration of Principles had brought hope that the Israeli-Palestinian issue and other regional problems would be resolved for good. The agreement was about more than just security; it included cooperation in economics, science, the environment and many other areas.
Although some of this cooperation came to fruition during the early years of the treaty, much of it was short-lived. Some say that Jordan created high expectations about such peace dividends in order to convince the public to support the deal. While this may be true, the intricacies of the issues involved in cooperative initiatives severely complicate the prospects for success. These mostly consist of vegetable products, precious stones and metals, paper products, textiles, machinery and electrical equipment.
One issue is that of backto-back transport of goods. Under this system, when Jordanian goods reach the Israeli border crossing, they are unloaded from Jordanian trucks and inspected for security reasons and then reloaded onto Israeli trucks to be transported to the final destination. Jordan complains that this system limits the flow of goods, increases costs and causes significant delays. There was a brief period when Jordan and Israel agreed to allow a point-to-door system, but Israel stopped it after the beginning of the Second Intifada.
It has been said that trials of the point-to-door system will be started, which may lead to its reinstatement. A sample of any good being exported to Israel must be sent to an Israeli laboratory to be tested. This process can take up to several months. However, testing cannot be done in Jordan because Israel only accepts results from its own labs. The parties signed an agreement laying the groundwork for mutual recognition of certificates, marks of conformity, standard procedures and fees for services rendered, but until now, formal letters of accreditation still do not exist, although there is informal respect for results in some fields such as medicines.
Originally, no tariffs were to be imposed on trade between Israel and Jordan, partly to help bridge the gap between the two economies, but also because Jordanians viewed them as Israeli attempts to monopolize the Palestinian market.
Currently there are no extra tariffs on Jordanian goods entering the West Bank, but Jordan must compete with Israeli products, which are of higher quality and about the same price. Some Israelis say that Jordan is taking the easy way out on trade issues by blaming tariffs.
Israelis have problems trading with and investing in Jordan. Israel is also frustrated that cooperation with Jordan must be carried out secretively because of political sensitivities, while in Israel it is said that relationships with the Arab world are out in the open. Israelis say they want countries like Jordan to prosper, pointing to Israeli investors who closed factories in Israel during the early years of the peace agreement, creating unemployment in their own country to help push the peace process forward.
Although they admit there were financial incentives to do business in Jordan, there was also a desire to further a relationship with an Arab country. Qualifying goods manufactured in the zones receive quota-free and duty-free access to the U.
The zones were established under the Israeli-U. The purpose of the QIZs was to encourage peace in the region through economic cooperation, to promote foreign direct investment FDI in Jordan and to increase Jordanian exports to the United States.
It must be manufactured in the QIZ, and the direct cost of processing operations performed in the QIZ, the West Bank, the Gaza Strip or Israel cannot be less than 35 percent of the appraised value of the good.
One method of achieving this value is for the direct costs to comprise This process is regulated by a joint committee consisting of Jordanians, Israelis and an observer from the United States. On paper, the statistics are positive. Inthere were only two companies in the QIZs, and the number of employees in the zones was about 5, Bythe number of companies increased to over 50 and the zones employed over 46, workers. Despite these statistics, there are underlying problems.
Jordanians are extremely unenthusiastic about doing business with Israeli companies. Further, Israeli companies mostly take on subcontracting work rather than invest directly into QIZs, with most direct investment coming from countries outside of the region.
Foreign workers make up nearly half of the employees in the QIZs, and wages are very low: Supervisors at QIZs say they prefer to hire foreign workers because they are more committed and better trained and experienced in the manufacturing industry.
These workers are often trained in their home countries before coming to Jordan, whereas the cost of training Jordanian workers is said to be prohibitive. Those opposing the QIZs blame low wages and bad working conditions for the reluctance of Jordanians to apply for jobs there.
They argue that Jordanians have more societal obligations than foreign workers and often will not accept a lack of job security, wage freezes and extremely long hours. They cannot compete with foreign workers, who have fewer obligations and are willing to work overtime for low pay. One bright spot for QIZs is their impact on the Jordanian women who work in QIZs, providing additional income to their households while being empowered to participate in public life.
However, their jobs do not allow for significant salary increases or training to move up to higher-skilled positions, and working conditions are often poor. Forty percent of this value comes through direct labor costs, the remaining 60 percent through processing costs of utilities, transport, medical insurance, government expenses, banking needs and other similar expenses.
This is true despite the fact that ground transport to Aqaba is cheaper than to Haifa. Beyond the processing costs, the linkages the QIZs have with the rest of the economy are limited. Jordan does not have the raw materials to contribute to the textile industry, and the percentage of required Israeli value-added drains the potential of local manufacturers to provide those materials.
Additionally, there is no local competition generated by the QIZs, because all of the products are exported directly to the United States.
Labor costs in Jordan are still relatively high compared to other countries, including Egypt, which also has a QIZ agreement. Further, with the elimination of import quotas by the United States inthe QIZs lost their preferential status of quota-free access to the U. Jordan could circumvent these effects by focusing on high-tariff products, over which it still has an advantage.
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QIZ manufacturers are also hoping that the 8 percent Israeli value-added requirement will be lowered in the future. Jordan has its own FTA with the United States, which aims to eliminate all trade barriers between the two countries by This FTA will have an impact on QIZs; there are differences between the agreements that could create both advantages and disadvantages. The number of Arab investors in QIZs has been low because of the lack of diplomatic relations between their countries and Israel.
This could mean that more Arabs will invest in projects working through the FTA. This movement has brought together ideologically opposed parties, such as Islamists and leftists, to form an opposition to the peace treaty with Israel. However, the Islamists have adopted a less religious tone, often using leftist arguments. The goal of the anti-normalization movement is to use civic organizations and professional associations to reduce the practical significance of the peace treaty.
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- The Jekyll & Hyde Israel-Jordan Relationship
Each has its own council, and any Jordanian who wishes to practice in one of these professions must register with the respective association. Professional associations are seen as the one true democratic outlet in Jordanian life since most Jordanians do not have faith in the parliamentary electoral system.
The example most frequently cited by the opposition is the election, when the regime changed the election rules to ensure its allies would win and ratify the treaty with Israel. In previous elections, the law designated a specific number of parliamentary seats for each electoral district and allowed voters to vote for the number of seats designated for their district.
This was extremely beneficial to tribal leaders loyal to the regime; the IAF lost almost half of its seats.
The Jordanian-Israeli Relationship: The Reality of "Cooperation"
The treaty was overwhelmingly ratified by parliament, but the opposition believes that the change in the election laws diminished the will of the people. In the associations, members choose their leaders democratically. Each has its own internal governance, and if someone practices a profession without registering with the association, the company that hires that individual can be penalized. This has been interpreted to include attending an international conference with Israeli participants or even visiting Israel for personal reasons.
Such individuals must appear before an internal-governance panel comprising three individuals with the power to expel offenders. This is an economic threat to those who cooperate with Israelis, as Jordanian law requires professionals to be members of their associations. This is probably an exaggeration; there are companies and individuals who work with Israelis, and there are jobs outside the network of the associations.
It is unlikely, however, that many people would risk their livelihood and social standing by supporting normalization.
The anti-normalization committee used blacklisting against those engaging with Israelis. These blacklists were made available to neighboring Arab countries and even displayed on the screens of some satellite channels.
The Jordanian government puts pressure on the associations for their anti-normalization positions. Inthe government determined that the anti-normalization committee was illegal and declared null and void its decisions, both inside and outside the associations. The committee was originally disbanded but was later reformed with modifications.
A compromise was reached: Many believe the reason most proposals for cooperation were not implemented was because of the anti-normalization movement. The question arises as to whether association members do not cooperate with Israelis out of fear of repercussions from the associations. Association leaders argue that people do not want to cooperate with Israel and that even government officials are against the peace agreement. They say their rules are respected, not feared. There is merit to this argument, as a significant percentage of Jordanians resent Israeli actions and intentions in the region.
However, the associations point to their successes, citing the Israeli trade fair in Jordan, when they mobilized a demonstration of 4, people. The hotel had to close down. Visa Issues for Jordanians While Israelis easily obtain visas to enter Jordan, it is difficult for Jordanians to obtain visas to enter Israel.
This has been a source of constant tension. Whether Jordanians desire to visit Israel for tourism, business or family reasons, obtaining a visa is challenging. Israel says that it used to issue more visas to Jordanians, but thousands of Jordanians of Palestinian decent went to the West Bank and did not return.
The Israeli viewpoint is not monolithic, even within the government. There is a strong difference of opinion between the Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Interior, whose security apparatus gives clearances on visas.
The Ministry of Interior relies on low-level employees, who ultimately have more of a say than ambassadors and embassy staff on the issuances of visas. Other branches of the Israeli government, which deal with day-to-day visa issues, would like to see an increase in the number of visas issued to Jordanians. There is a VIP list for certain types of individuals, such as businessmen, but it has not solved many of the issues.
For Jordanians, especially those of Palestinian origin, this issue creates significant tension, because many have families in Israel or the Occupied Territories whom they cannot visit. Jordanians and Israelis involved in bilateral cooperation believe that arguments about people going to the West Bank and not returning are illogical, since the Israeli embassy and Ministry of Interior know the reason an applicant is applying for a visa. To them, it is not rational to delay or deny a visa application to those applying for business reasons or to attend events focusing on bilateral and regional cooperation.
Tourism It was thought that cooperation on tourism would be an important aspect of the peace treaty between Jordan and Israel, as the industry plays a significant role in both countries. Besides the economic boost cooperation on tourism would provide, it was thought that the ease of access, especially for Israelis to Jordan, would increase people-to-people contact and create understanding.
While there was some increase in tourism, the full potential of this opportunity was not reached. The problem for Jordanians has been obtaining a visa to visit Israel. Because of this, many local businesses do not benefit, and Jordan raised entrance fees to its sites in order to cover maintenance costs. InIsrael received about 11, Jordanian tourists, about.
This number was significantly higher than the 2, tourists who came from Egypt in the same year, perhaps indicating that many of these Jordanians were of Palestinian origin visiting family in Israel or the Occupied Territories. However, the number of Jordanian tourists in was dramatically lower than the 77, Jordanians who visited Israel inbefore the Second Intifada.
When looking at the venues for arrival, one sees that Israel benefits. InIsrael received abouttourists from its crossings with Jordan, meaning that overnon-Jordanians visited Israel through Jordanian-Israeli crossings. In andJordan received betweenandIsraeli tourists, compared toin The majority stayed overnight.
The only problem with looking at these statistics is the inability to determine how many of the Israeli visitors to Jordan were Arabs with Israeli citizenship. Jordan also receives a significant number of arrivals through its crossing points with Israel; the Jordan Valley crossing in the north received overarrivals in Israelis say they enjoy traveling and point to the number of Israeli tourists who travel to Turkey, but they say their security must be guaranteed and because of this do not feel comfortable going to Jordan.
At the early stages of the peace agreement, it was common to see Israelis in Jordan; today that is not the case. In fact, some Israelis believe decreased Israeli tourism to Jordan is part of the reason for the decreased tourism at Petra. Jordanians rarely complete their university studies in Israel; they know it will be difficult to find work if employers see that their degrees were completed in Israel and because their degrees are not accepted by the professional associations.
The Jordanian-Israeli Relationship: The Reality of "Cooperation" | Middle East Policy Council
Water Cooperation Water distribution is very important in a region with extreme scarcity. The Jordan River is a very highly contested water source. Its tributaries originate in Syria, Lebanon, Israel and the Golan Heights, with each country asserting rights over its water. Cooperation on water-related matters has been one of the bright spots of the Jordanian-Israeli relationship and was made one of the top priorities in the peace negotiations.
While many scholars have predicted water wars in the region, Jordan and Israel work well together on water issues. The crux of the water conflict between Israel and Jordan involved the right to utilize water from the Jordan and Yarmouk Rivers. In the peace negotiations, Jordan put water utilization on the same level as security, territorial rights and the refugee problem.
This was the only dispute within the Arab-Israeli conflict not directly related to territory and thus gave rise to the opportunity to find a bilateral solution with a real negotiated settlement.
The resolution of this conflict is an essential part of the treaty, which allocates fixed quotas of water to each party and stipulates future storing and diversion systems on the two rivers. Other provisions discuss cooperation on water pollution, distribution of groundwater resources, the prohibition of a unilateral change in flow of the two rivers, and finding future sources of water. The treaty also allocates water from the other river to each country. Israel receives 25 million cubic meters mcm from the Yarmouk, and Jordan receives 30 mcm from the Jordan.
Israel is also permitted to pump an additional 20 mcm of water during winter from the Yarmouk into the Sea of Galilee. This amount is redirected to Jordan during the summer months. This is a significant reduction from the amount of water it was using from the Yarmouk prior to the peace agreement. However, Israel is permitted to maintain its usage of the previous levels of water from the Yarmouk until Jordan builds a dam on the river.
Out of its 30 mcm allocation, 20 mcm comes from the river itself, while the rest comes from the Sea of Galilee until it can be provided by a desalination plant that processes groundwater sources. The treaty also states that Israel and Jordan will work together to provide Jordan with an additional 50 mcm of fresh water in the future, but it does not specify how the costs for this would be distributed.
But there is no question that Jordan benefitted from the treaty with respect to its water supply; previous plans allocated water to Jordan based on its control of the East and West Banks. The treaty does not specify the quality of water Jordan is to receive from Israel.
Overall, then, there is a confluence of numerous interests between Israel and Jordan, whose relations nevertheless appear, at least publicly, perpetually strained. The most recent flare-up occurred over Jordan's vehement condemnation of US President Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and the resulting relocation of the American Embassy to the holy city.
Even before, Israel-Jordan ties reached a nadir after a security guard shot dead two Jordanians at the Israeli Embassy compound in Amman. Israel's new envoy, Amir Weissbrod, was only permitted to take up the vacant post this past April. Jordan, the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, reacted with fury, in no small part contributing to the ensuing mass protests that caused Israel to reverse its decision.
Many Jordanians, including a significant portion of the political establishment, advocated for the total severing of ties with Jerusalem unless Moyal was tried and convicted for his actions. This is seen in the media, among politicians, the Muslim Brotherhood, etc.Egypt, Russia, Turkey, Jordan "Condemn Israel" !!
Abdullah Swalha, Director of the Amman-based Center for Israel Studies, which aims to provide Jordanians with objective information about Israel with a view to bridging the gap between the two nations. Also, if you ask citizens very specific questions, such as whether Jordan should accept Israeli gas or about the joint water projects, they respond more positively. It is important to focus on the entire picture and not just what is happening in Gaza or with the al-Aksa mosque.
The majority of Jordan's population is Palestinian, thus [King Abdullah] has to take into account their interests. It is accepted in Israel that in the event of an incident that creates discontent among Jordanians the monarchy must voice [opposition].
That there are diplomatic ties to begin with, along with a personal relationship between the leaders, allows this to occur. Additionally, the Jordanian army would unlikely be able to defend its eastern borders with both Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and Amman would be totally incapable of attending to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees.