This month, Israel and Jordan will mark the 25th anniversary of their peace agreement, but the bilateral relationship is only getting more complicated. Security and intelligence cooperation has improved over the years, but civilian projects that were supposed to nurture peace between peoples have been stuck.
Amman has been waiting more than 20 years for Israel to keep its promises on establishing a joint airport and building the planned Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal. The Jordan Gateway project – the construction of a joint industrial zone – has made a little progress over the past year, but it still lacks a short access road costing 60 million shekels ($17 million) that no Israeli ministry is willing to finance – and Israel has no permanent government to grant its approval.
Experts and government officials warn that the inclination of successive Israeli governments to cultivate ties with Jordan and Egypt mainly in the realm of security leaves the country dependent on its neighbors’ rulers and intelligence agencies at the expense of improving their citizens’ views of Israel.
Twenty-five years ago, the Jordanians also thought that signing a peace agreement with Israel would advance the establishment of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. But as that solution looks ever distant, and as more and more Israelis call for an annexation of the occupied territories, especially the Jordan Valley, while claiming that the Palestinians’ home is actually Jordan (“the Jordanian option”), fear and anger are growing east of the Jordan River.