Potential Threats To Israel: Jordan

On October 26, 1994, in the sands of the Arava desert, Israel and Jordan signed a groundbreaking peace treaty fully normalizing relations between the two countries — including the exchange of Ambassadors and the free movement of goods and people across the border, as well as the termination of the Arab boycott. The two nations also have agreed to share water and cooperate on water projects to boost the supply of available water. King Hussein pledged “a warm peace” with Israel. Israel and Jordan have formally established relations in December 1994 and have subsequently exchanged ambassadors.

Since the full peace agreement, Jordan and Israel have signed agreements on trade, anti­crime cooperation, direct communications, the environment, cooperation in tourism, energy, aviation, shipping, electricity, and health, and the joint development of Eilat and Aqaba as well as other collaborative projects. The military forces of the two former enemies have also begun to establish close ties.

King Hussein's touching eulogy at the funeral of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, underscored the strong state of relations between the neighboring states. “On behalf of the people of Jordan, my Hashemite family, all those who belong to the camp of peace-our deepest sympathies, our deepest condolences as we share together this moment of remembrance and commitment to continue to struggle for the future of generations to come as did Yitzhak Rabin, and to fulfill his legacy.”

Since King Hussein's death in 1999, his son and successor, King Abdullah, has further strengthened ties with Israel.

The King has also maintained a close relationship with the United States and continued his father's policy of acquiring American weapons systems. In January 2003, Jordan received the first batch of F-16 fighter planes, which were donated to the kingdom by the Bush Administration.

In November 2004, the U.S. Defense Department announced plans to sell Jordan 50 U.S.-made AMRAAM anti-aircraft missiles in a deal valued at $39 million, despite a reported attempt by Israel to block the sale. The proposed sale includes 50 AIM-120C Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles built by Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon, 51 LAU-129 launchers and associated equipment. The DoD said Jordan needed the missiles to enhance the air-to-air self-defense capability of its F-16 fighter jets and make it easier for Jordan's military to operate jointly with U.S forces.

Israeli media reported earlier in the year that Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz asked the Pentagon to cancel the planned sale of the air-to-air missiles to Jordan. Israel is not concerned about Jordan obtaining the weapons, but is afraid the sale might encourage Egypt to make similar arms deals with Washington, and shift the strategic balance in the Middle East. Jordan has criticized Israel for interfering in the proposed deal.

Source: American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC); Jerusalem Post, (January 29, 2003); Reuters, (November 23, 2004)