Well before the Abraham Accords, two other Arab states forged a brave trail by signing peace treaties with Israel: Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
And today, Oct. 26, is the 27th anniversary of the Jordan-Israel peace treaty.
With then-U.S. President Bill Clinton present as a witness, Jordan’s King Hussein and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin met in the Wadi Arava along the border between the two countries to sign the treaty.
The signing of the actual peace treaty was preceded by a White House ceremony on July 25, 1994 when Clinton read a declaration terminating the 46-year state of war between Jordan and Israel. Rabin and Hussein both signed and, over the next three months, the two sides entered into intense negotiations over land and water.
According to this site dedicated to the memory of King Hussein: “The treaty guaranteed Jordan the restoration of its occupied land (approximately 380 square kilometers), as well as an equitable share of water from the Yarmouk and Jordan rivers. Moreover, the treaty defined Jordan’s western borders clearly and conclusively for the first time, putting an end to the dangerous and false Zionist claim that ‘Jordan is Palestine.’”
But the historic move came after several secret visits to Jordan by Rabin to meet the king and discuss the possibility of peace between the two neighboring countries. And at the same time, Israel was conducting negotiations with the Palestinians and Syrians as well. Those failed, but the peace with Jordan has endured and was only followed in 2020 when the United Arab Emirates and then Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco normalized relations with Israel.
Rabin was assassinated a year after the signing and Hussein attended the funeral in Jerusalem.
A cold peace ensued after Benjamin Netanyahu became prime minister and has lasted until recently. Under Netanyahu and former U.S. President Donald Trump, Israel’s relations with Jordan took on a chilly tone.
However, both the new Israeli government and the current U.S. administration have prioritized relations with Jordan resulting in diplomatic progress and even a recent deal with Israel to double the amount of water it provides to the Kingdom.
On the occasion of this anniversary, Israeli President Isaac Herzog said today that Israel supports “this lasting peace” and deepening friendship between the two countries.
“Only by deepening and expanding our ties across all levels of government and civil society, and in all fields of cooperation, can we safeguard this indispensable asset of peace,” Herzog said in a letter to King Abdullah II of Jordan. “I look forward to seeing our bilateral cooperation grow in the fields of agriculture, water, trade, innovation, hi-tech, and more over the course of my presidency, for the benefit of both our nations and the region as a whole.”
ALL ARAB NEWS Editor-in-Chief Joel Rosenberg gave a synopsis on the current state of the treaty and relations between Jordan and Israel today, 27 years later.
“Most Israelis want this peace treaty,” Rosenberg said. “They want a warmer relationship with Jordan. And one of the questions I think we need to ask is will the warmth of relations during the Abraham Accords era – the new era that just began particularly with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain – will that lead to warmer relations with the nation and people of Jordan and Egypt?”
Watch the video here: