The expulsion of the Israeli ambassador

Maher Abu Tair (Photo: Jordan News)
It is no longer feasible to call for expelling the Israeli ambassador in Amman, nor to call home the Jordanian ambassador in Israel. Although these are important demands by noble people, they are not the proper solution to the current situation.اضافة اعلان

The Lower House’s Palestine Committee has recently renewed its calls for the expulsion of the Israeli envoy from the country and calling back our ambassador in Israel. The motives of the panel are unquestionable, and such a call has been made by lawmakers so frequently, on different occasions, citing the tensions in Jerusalem or Israeli violations. Previous times include following the death of two Jordanians at the Israeli embassy in Amman and after the killing of a Jordanian judge on the bridge leading to Palestine.

Jordan has taken such decisions — calling back its ambassador sometimes, and asking the Israeli envoy to leave or handing him a sharply-worded letter of protest.

Israel does not care about any of these calls, and the reason is that there are more important matters than the presence of an Israeli ambassador in Amman. There are three sides to this. There is first the Wadi Araba Peace Treaty, which none has been able to abolish. The second side is the continued economic dealings with Israeli, such as buying gas, requesting water, and imports and exports. All indicators show that trade has been on the rise between the two sides. Third, there is the technical cooperation. 

This means that sending away the Israeli ambassador, albeit a significant political measure, is a temporary move that does not halt any act of normalization or the flow of dealing with Israel.

There is a political group in Jordan whose members call themselves pragmatists and are against the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador. They justify the relations with Israel by saying that it is the curse of geography, and that the existence of ties with Israel is conducive when it comes to helping the Palestinians and protecting Al-Aqsa Mosque. In addition, these ties prevent antagonizing the Americans and Europeans. This group sees that playing it soft with the Israelis and managing the situation calmly are much better that escalation, especially since Israel has so many cards up its sleeve.

But this group deliberately overlooks the fact that Jordan’s geopolitical location is very important and is a threat to Israel, in the first place, if utilized as it should be. Jordan would then be the stronger side that would be a threat to the occupation, especially as any gap or flaw in Jordan’s security and socioeconomic stability would be costly for the entire region. In this sense, the Israelis, Americans, and Europeans should be concerned with the stability of Jordan and worried about the harm done by the Israeli policies in this regard. You do not ask Jordan to remain calm and be realistic. This is the wrong employment of Jordan’s location on the map.

In other words, demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Amman is a noble request and an act of patriotism that reflects understanding of the Israeli threat. However, it is a superficial approach to the issue. What benefit is there in expelling the ambassador when the Wadi Araba Treaty is still valid and economic relations are ongoing? Any attempt to address the Israeli file should be holistic, and not merely a diplomatic letter.

The landscape is full of hazards: Crises are blowing Jordan away, politically and economically; social transformations are dangerous; every Arab neighbor of Israel is being destroyed, as we have seen in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and other countries, while Jordan is being weakened and overwhelmed by debt and crises.

Such kind of a relationship with Israel is not a guarantee that we will survive in the region. If it was true that before and after Wadi Araba, ties with Israel were the reason for being spared its evils, we should know that we are entering a new age. The Israeli enterprise has seen major changes, expanding regionally and changing priorities, and an obvious Israeli wish is to solve the Palestinian problem at the expense of Jordanians and Palestinians.

The pragmatists who justify relations with Israel do not want to understand that such a relationship is deeply threatening to the stability of Jordan. Caving to the occupation is not any longer a shield against the evils of the Israeli enterprise. We are entering the most dangerous stage in this project, whose features are getting clearer, when it comes to its plans for Jordan. 

Therefore, it is not enough to send the Israeli ambassador away.

Read more opinions.