Jordan: A “Warm Peace”
In the immediate aftermath of the signing of the DoP, Israel and Jordan established a “common agenda” to facilitate negotiations that led to the Washington Declaration, issued in summer 1994 and the subsequent signing of a peace treaty between Israel and Jordan in fall 1994. Israel and Jordan exchanged ambassadors in early 1995.
Jordan’s kings had been secretly meeting with the leaders of Israel since 1947. King Abdullah had met with Golda Meir, representative of the labor Party that led the pre-state Yishuv government, in the desert between the two countries, and dozens of secret meetings had taken place at the highest levels of both governments from that point forward. But when Israel and the Plo reached an arrangement to negotiate in 1993, King Hussein made the decision to commence public discussions for peace between his country and Israel.
During Israel’s War of Independence, Jordan occupied (and later annexed) a portion of the territory of the Palestine mandate that had been allocated to the Arab state of Palestine and came to be known as the West Bank. In 1949, Jordan and Israel signed an armistice agreement that established the de facto frontier between the two states that existed until the Six-Day War (1967). The frontier was generally peaceful, but there were periodic raids and reprisals.
Jordan joined in the Arab fighting against Israel in the Six-Day War, during which Israel took control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem from Jordan. Jordan abstained from participating in the Suez War (1956) and the War of Attrition (1969–70). During the Yom Kippur War (1973), King Hussein committed only token forces to the battle against Israel, and these fought alongside Syrian troops in the Golan Heights. The Israel-Jordan frontier remained quiet.
on September 14, 1993, the day after the signing of the DoP, Israel, and Jordan signed the substantive common Agenda outlining their approach to achieving peace between them. on October 1, Jordan’s crown prince Hassan and Israel’s foreign minister Peres met at the White House with U.S. president Clinton. They agreed to set up a bilateral economic committee and a U.S.-Israeli-Jordanian trilateral economic committee. The first meeting of the trilateral committee was held on November 4, in Paris, and a second was held in Washington on November 30.
As Israel and the Plo continued their efforts to implement the DoP, Israel and Jordan conducted negotiations to achieve peace along the lines of their agreed common Agenda. on July 25, 1994, Prime Minister Rabin of Israel and King Hussein of Jordan signed, on the White House lawn, the Washington Declaration, formally ending their state of belligerence, and just over a year after they began the process, Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in the desert between the two countries, where they formally put in place the border that had been created by the British after World War I, when Transjordan was created.
The Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty, signed on October 26, 1994, covered all of the usual ground but incorporated some innovative arrangements to deal with sensitive issues such as border demarcation and water resources. Provisions for economic cooperation included a commitment to terminate economic boycotts, essentially a reference to Arab boycotts of Israel. on the matter of Jerusalem, whose eastern portion, including the old walled city,
Jordan had controlled between 1949 and 1967, Israel stated that it “respects the present special role of … Jordan in Muslim Holy shrines in Jerusalem.” Israel also noted that “when negotiations on the permanent status will take place, Israel will give high priority to the Jordanian historic role in these shrines.”
The Israel-Jordan peace was remarkable in several respects, most notably, the speed with which it was negotiated and implemented, the ingenuity and creativity by which thorny problems were dealt with if not fully resolved, and the warmth between senior Israeli and Jordanian figures involved in the negotiation and implementation.
It was overwhelmingly accepted by the Knesset, in sharp contrast not only to the narrow vote margins on the several Israel-Plo agreements but also to the vote on the 1979 peace treaty with Egypt, despite the fact that the latter was shepherded through the parliament by Menachem Begin. The actions and statements of King Hussein, the crown prince, and other Jordanian officials at home and abroad, were extraordinary in conveying the positive sentiments of the leadership of Jordan.
The warm peace between the two states was not simply a rhetorical comment but appeared to be reality as demonstrated in various actions. High-level visits, expeditious signing and implementing of agreements, and other forms of cooperation marked the peace, unlike that with Egypt or the developing relationship with the Palestinians.
Jordan and Israel established a close and warm peace that went beyond formal peace and normalizing relations. Since the treaty, Israelis have traveled to Jordan in large numbers, not only seeking joint ventures and other economic links, but also for everyday tourism.
There was, however, opposition within both the Jordanian populace and the government to the enhancement of normalization between Jordan and Israel. For example, Jordanian professional organizations applied sanctions to their members who sought closer links with Israel.
Indeed, even within the government there were those who were more cautious than the king and his closest advisers. opposition to close ties with Israel continued despite the peace treaty and King Hussein’s clear personal commitment to the process. Some Jordanians seemed perplexed, and some were dismayed and clearly uncomfortable with the sudden rush from war to peace to partnership in various areas. There was a gap between the palace and the populace.
The Israeli agreement with Jordan was without built-in security arrangements, and there was no international force separating the two countries. Third-party observers and supervision were also omitted. Instead, cooperation between the military forces of the two states was enhanced. King Hussein made a number of visits to Israel for a variety of reasons. In contrast, Hosni Mubarak has visited Israel only once as president of Egypt. Israelis developed a very positive view of King Hussein and of the peace he made with them.