Handshakes and High Hopes

Special Report: Israeli-Jordanian Peace Agreement

It was a photograph far more captivating than the proverbial “a picture is worth a thousand words” theme. The Royal Jordanian jet with King Hussein on board was flying in lazy circles at low altitude over the city of Jerusalem. Just off the wing and slightly above was an Israeli Air Force fighter jet flying escort for the king and his entourage. The eye line was perfect. The royal seal of Jordan marking the tail of the larger plane was juxtaposed with the Star of David emblazoned under the wing of the Israeli F-15.

From ground to air there was an even more telling linkage. Prime Minister Rabin was on the phone with the king. “Welcome to Israel,” he said, “even though it is in the air.” The king replied, “It’s wonderful to be overflying your country for the first time in a civilian air­plane, sir…To the people of Israel and your­self, all our best wishes, and our prayers for peace, shalom.”

Although it was all high symbolism and invigorating visual imagery, the events on the Israeli-Jordanian border, in Washington, D.C., and in the sky over Jerusalem had long been viewed as an eventual sure thing. Since 1967 the Jordanian border had been virtually trouble free. Hussein showed no inclination to perpetuate hostile relations with his neighbor. As a matter of fact, face-to-face meetings and contacts on issues of mutual interest to both countries had been carried on for years. A de facto peace agreement existed between the two; the pageantry made it official.

…what we are wit­nessing in the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan is a mutual-security pact that is of far different stuff than the tenuous deal struck with Arafat and the Palestinians.

The driving force behind Hussein’s willing­ness to drop the “perpetual state of war” facade was an ample dose of political realism. Yasser Arafat’s drive for a Palestinian state with a capi­tal city in Jerusalem was something the king could ill afford to leave unchallenged. For Israel, it brought a much-welcomed new factor into the peace process. For one thing, Israel has no desire to exercise control over Islamic shrines in Jerusalem. They have, however, no inclination to grant oversight of these sacred places to Arafat and his terror-prone Palestinians. The very thought of hearing Muslim voices in the Al Aksa Mosque on the Temple Mount echoing Arafat’s Johannesburg call for a Jihad (holy war) to seize Jerusalem is a chilling prospect for Jews and Christians alike.

Breaking free of Syrian intimidation was another positive aspect of Jordan’s agreement with Israel. Syria’s virtual annexation of Lebanon and President Assad’s willingness to use his considerable military power against Arab brothers was a reality not lost on the Jordanians. Now that Jordan has made the break, the focus on who will be next to bow to historical reality and recognize Israel’s right to exist has shifted to Syria. It will be interesting to see how Assad reacts. Will he turn his terrorist cohorts loose on the Jordanians, or begin more serious negotiations with Israel?

The question on many minds is whether Jordan’s peace with Israel will have a signifi­cant bearing on Syria’s demands for a full return of the Golan Heights before serious talks begin. A companion question relates to Israel’s willing­ness, in light of the new sit­uation, to stand tough on the issue of how much they are willing to concede to Syria on the Golan—a posi­tion that would certainly strengthen the current administration’s position among the Israeli people.

When all is said and done, however, of utmost importance to King Hussein and Jordan regard­ing their relationship with Israel is Israel itself. Whatever the king can do to contribute to a strong, stable Jewish state will inevitably help insure his nation’s welfare and security. There can be little doubt that Israel will prove to be a far more reliable ally than any Arab or Palestinian state in the region.

The Arab world is under siege by no-holds­barred Muslim radicals dedicated to rule-or-rav­age crusades the world over. Events in Algeria, which are ominously impacting France, are but one recent example of the political volatility cre­ated by religion-driven Islamic fanatics. If Israel is marked for conquest by these people, you can be sure that King Hussein and Jordan are also in the crosshairs. So, in actuality, what we are wit­nessing in the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan is a mutual-security pact that is of far different stuff than the tenuous deal struck with Arafat and the Palestinians.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Features

Jerusalem: Occupied Territory?

“We want a piece of the action!” This seems to be the prevailing attitude when the international community talks about Jerusalem. Until the Jewish people began to wind their way back toward the Holy City...

The Palestinians

“And Isaac entreated the Lᴏʀᴅ for his wife, because she was barren: and the Lᴏʀᴅ was entreated by him, and Rebekah, his wife, conceived. And the children struggled together within her;

The Jewish Presence in Hebron

This February, a lone Jewish man walked into a mosque inside of a shrine built over the cave of Machpelah in Hebron. Dressed in Israeli military garb, he gunned down 29 Muslim Arabs...

Living With the Peace Process

On September 13, 1993, Israel signed a peace treaty with the PLO, an organization then known as one of our worst enemies. You would expect that after such an historic step...

The Church Confronted And Comforted Revelation 2:1–11

“Churches are like people. No two are alike. Each has its own personality ... size and shape ... strength and weakness,” wrote Steven Lawson.* This is evident when reading Christ’s letters to the seven churches...

Digging Up Israel

The ground in front of the beautiful Golden Gate was still soft from the recent heavy rains. An archaeology student confidently stepped back from the gate to capture its entire view in his camera...

Subscription Options

1 Year Digital Subscription

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads

$9.99 every year

1 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Complete Access to Our Growing Archive—Eventually Back Through Our Inaugural Issue In 1942
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads of Current Issues and Select Archives

$19.99 every year

2 Year Digital Subscription

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads

$19.99 every 2 years

2 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Complete Access to Our Growing Archive—Eventually Back Through Our Inaugural Issue In 1942
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads of Current Issues and Select Archives

$39.99 every 2 years

3 Year Digital Subscription

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads

$29.99 every 3 years

3 Year Digital with Archive Access

  • *Free PDF Book Download - What on Earth is God Doing? by Renald Showers
  • *Complete Access to Our Growing Archive—Eventually Back Through Our Inaugural Issue In 1942
  • *Free Full-Issue PDF Downloads of Current Issues and Select Archives

$59.99 every 3 years

Free 1 Year Digital Subscription

Unlimited Articles

Unlimited Posts

Free