Jun 14, 2011

Israel Hopes 'Arab Spring' Doesn't Reach Jordan

Ryan JonesBy Ryan Jones
Israel Today

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With Egypt, Lebanon and possibly Syria all becoming increasingly hostile toward Israel as a result of the "Arab Spring" democratic revolutions, Jerusalem is holding its breath over what will happen in neighboring Jordan.

Since signing its peace treaty with Israel in 1995, the Jordanian government has been by far the region's friendliest to Israel.

But there are signs that the monarchy could be swept aside by the Muslim uprisings (hiding behind a guise of democratic freedom) that are ongoing in several neighboring countries.

Months ago as Egyptians were ousting former dictator Hosni Mubarak, various elements in Jordan began demanding reforms from King Abdullah II.

Abdullah acquiesced to some of the demands, and on Sunday he reportedly promised another major reform when he said the method in which the government elects its cabinet would be altered. But Dr. Assaf David, an expert on Arab affairs at Jerusalem's Hebrew University, told several news outlets that Abdullah's big promise was really quite minor, and had been grossly overplayed by the media.

If and when the Jordanian masses catch on, that could spell trouble for Abdullah.

On Sunday, residents of a small town in southern Jordan attacked Abdullah's motorcade during a royal visit. Some 30 police officers were reportedly hurt in the riot. It is unprecedented for Jordanians - especially those of Bedouin descent, like Abdullah - to physically attack their king, and could be a sign of things to come.

Knowing full well what it would mean for Abdullah to fall, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee Chairman Shaul Mofaz on Monday said he and all of Israel sincerely hope that the "Arab Spring" does not reach Jordan.

Just as in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood is powerful and influential in Jordan, and wants to break that nation's peace treaty with Israel. A 60 percent majority of Jordan's population is made up of "Palestinian Arabs" who are hostile toward Israel.

Related Links

Jordan’s king says an elected PM, Cabinet possibly in 2-3 years - Washington Post
Jordan to Soon Sever Ties with Israel - BPB (Bill Salus)
Jordan MPs Deny King's Motorcade Attacked - Naharnet
King Abdullah Escapes Injury in Attack on Convoy - Arutz Sheva
'Abdullah’s promised electoral changes are insignificant' - Jerusalem Post