Monday September 15, 2014
Israel Hayom
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15.09.2014
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Boaz Bismuth

Letting off steam, for now

The Jordanian parliament does not support the peace agreement between Israel and Jordan, signed in 1994, regardless of the killing of the Jordanian judge by Israeli troops at the Allenby Bridge border crossing on Monday. The ultimatum issued by the parliament yesterday -- expel Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Daniel Nevo by next Tuesday or the government would be toppled -- must be taken with the proper proportions. In the Hashemite Kingdom, the parliament is for letting off steam.

The problem for Israel isn't the parliament, it is the street. Even if Jordan is one of Israel's last remaining official friends in the Arab world since the pre-Second Intifada era of the seven consulates (from Mauritania to Oman) in September 2000, it is not really a democracy. Because the population in Jordan is not homogenous, voice must be given to all the different factions, including the Muslim Brotherhood, which has found in the parliament a comfortable shelter from which to express its views.

Paradoxically, while it has been outlawed in Egypt, hunted by Saudi Arabia at home and in Qatar; and it's hard to say the Palestinian Authority sees them as a partner -- in moderate Jordan of all places this extremist Islamic organization has found a legal platform. The demand to sever ties with Israel and expel its ambassador has become a matter of routine. The government, this time, has fallen in line and called the incident a "despicable crime."

The king allows, as stated, relative parliamentary freedom, including for its most radical elements. This is a delicate and dangerous balancing act, but the king has no choice. This is the way, the monarchy hopes, to prevent unrest in the streets similar to its Syrian neighbor.

Even if Wednesday's demand to expel the ambassador doesn't actually threaten immediate relations, the protests outside the Israeli embassy and the outrage voiced in parliament carry weight -- and altogether it leaves a bad taste. In the short term it perhaps won't make a difference, but over time it is indeed detrimental.

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