Your email is not valid
Recipient's email is not valid
Submit Close

Your email has been sent.

Click here to send another


The View from Israel

Wariness over Egypt and Jordan, and hope for common ground

Print Email
Religious Palestinians in Gaza don’t like him either!(Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images))

Steven Erlanger conveys that while there are many reasons for Israeli optimism as the Arab world slowly, jaggedly democratizes—accountable rulers in Egypt and elsewhere, for example, will be forced to tend their domestic gardens and less able to fall back on demonizing Israel (you can read a persuasive account of this dynamic in my interview with Professor Samer Shehata)—there are also grounds for the pessimism that, without a doubt, is the dominant mood in Israel itself. “New governments are more likely to increase their support for the Palestinian cause,” Erlanger reports. “That new attitude could pressure Israel to do more to find a settlement, some analysts argue.” He concludes, “Most others believe that Israel will instead resist, arguing that they cannot make concessions because they are now encircled by more hostile neighbors.”

You should read all of Erlanger’s piece—which touches on the Muslim Brotherhood’s prospects for power (it likely neither wants nor will get significant control of Egypt) and the resonance of the Turkish model of a democratically elected, moderately Islamist government (which is very strong; we should probably get use to the prospect of there being several Turkey equivalents). Meantime, two issues bear a closer look: The Israeli and Palestinian peoples’ common interests in the regional events, and the question of Jordan.

Libya’s situation—where longtime dictator Muammar Gadhafi has really dug himself in, killing protesters, losing control of parts of the country, and provoking calls (including from Elie Wiesel) for outside intervention—brought Israel and the Palestinian Authority together yesterday. Three hundred Palestinians trapped in Libya provided the opportunity for a rare moment of successful bonding between President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu: After a “personal request” from the Palestinian leader, Israel will allow their entry into the West Bank. And a draft resolution passed the Human Rights Council—on which, notoriously, Libya actually sits—that was sponsored by Arab members such as Qatar and Jordan; signed by Iraq, Tunisia, and Turkey; and also backed by—wait for it—Palestine and Israel. (The United States, of course, also supported it.) Yes, folks, that’s right: The U.N. Human Rights Council just brought Israel and the Palestinians together. Gadhafi, as the above photo shows, is a real unifier in that way.

Then there’s Jordan. When I spoke to expert Bruce Ridel more than three weeks ago—when Hosni Mubarak was still nominally in power—he was already telling me, “From an American standpoint, Jordan is the one that is both at risk and critically important”: Equipped with a superb intelligence service, ferocious at fighting terrorism, situated on a critical piece of land, and lacking the oil money of the Gulf states to buy its citizens off.

The one thing Jordan has going for it, stability-wise, is the prestige of the nearly century-old Hashemite monarchy. But even here, as David Ignatius paints it, King Abdullah II must perpetually balance between the so-called East Bankers—the traditional Bedouins who historically make up the monarchy’s “base,” if you will—and the Palestinians—who are Westernized (like his own wife, Queen Rania) and who keep Jordan’s economy functioning. “People speak of ‘Meds’ and ‘Beds,’” Ignatius notes, “referring to the worldly Mediterranean outlook of the Palestinians and the traditional values of the Bedouin tribes of the East Bank.” The king, he adds, “depends on the entrepreneurial Palestinian business elite for Jordan’s economic growth; but he needs the army, dominated by the Bedouin tribes of the East Bank, for security.”

Abdullah II most definitely has President Obama’s backing, but what of his own people? A few weeks ago, in response to popular protests—albeit peaceable ones that, in large part, did not seek to unseat the monarchy—the king dissolved his cabinet and appointed new ministers designed to appease the protesters. And what have these new ministers done? The new justice minister called Israel “a terrorist state that will be destroyed,” and the new prime minister directed attention to Israel’s failure in the peace process. Apparently, this is what is selling.

Oh, plus, this is all good for Iran. Right, that.

As Arab Leaders Teeter, Israel Frets [NYT]
Israel Clears Palestinians to Flee Libya for West Bank [The Lede]
A U.N. First! [U.N. Dispatch]
A Tough Balancing Act for Jordan [WP]
Obama Reassures Jordan King of U.S. Support [LAT]
Jordan Justice Minister: Israel Is a Terrorist State [Haaretz]
Jordan PM: Israel’s Obstinancy to Peace May Further Destabilize Mideast [DPA/Haaretz]
PM: We Need to be Prepared for All Outcomes in Region [JPost]
Earlier: Why Egypt Can Handle Democracy

Print Email

Daily rate: $2
Monthly rate: $18
Yearly rate: $180

Tablet is committed to bringing you the best, smartest, most enlightening and entertaining reporting and writing on Jewish life, all free of charge. We take pride in our community of readers, and are thrilled that you choose to engage with us in a way that is both thoughtful and thought-provoking. But the Internet, for all of its wonders, poses challenges to civilized and constructive discussion, allowing vocal—and, often, anonymous—minorities to drag it down with invective (and worse). Starting today, then, we are asking people who'd like to post comments on the site to pay a nominal fee—less a paywall than a gesture of your own commitment to the cause of great conversation. All proceeds go to helping us bring you the ambitious journalism that brought you here in the first place.

Readers can still interact with us free of charge via Facebook, Twitter, and our other social media channels, or write to us at Each week, we’ll select the best letters and publish them in a new letters to the editor feature on the Scroll.

We hope this new largely symbolic measure will help us create a more pleasant and cultivated environment for all of our readers, and, as always, we thank you deeply for your support.

When we misdefine a condition we cannot reach a cure.
Turkey is NOT really moderate – check the actual data !
The conflict in the Holy land is not between so called ‘Palestinians’ but the whole Muslim world against the rule of ‘infidels’ in this ‘DAR el ISLAM’.
Before the advent of the Jewish state – there was no ‘Palestinian’ claim. – Check history of the region.
DEMOCRACY is not just elections by populace; it has no meaning without liberal attiyudes. – I slam is basically against human rights as we accet in the western societies. – Study the Shariya and the Muslim Brotherhood ! – Muslim propaganda at the West blinds our judgement.

Considering how willing the Arab League has been willing to go to bat for the Sudanese government, what is it exactly about Gadhaffi that arouses their concern?

The draft resolution in the UNHRC, on the other hand, as UN Watch has pointed out, is rather weakly worded: it does not name the government as the aggressor, nor does it call for Libya to be removed from the council.

“New governments are more likely to increase their support for the Palestinian cause,” Erlanger reports. “That new attitude could pressure Israel to do more to find a settlement” So! What’s wrong with that ? It’s long overdue. The rest of the world is finally seeing the brutish injustice and lack of humanity that is the real obstacle to peace for everyone in the Middle East. It’s an opportunity to toss the recidivist fossils that strangle Israeli politics and engage honestly with emerging democracies.

I’ve said that least 1628708 times. The problem this like that is they are just too compilcated for the average bird, if you know what I mean

I’ve been exploring for a little for any high quality articles or blog posts on this sort of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this web site. Reading this info So i am happy to convey that I’ve an incredibly good uncanny feeling I discovered just what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not forget this website and give it a glance on a constant basis.


Your comment may be no longer than 2,000 characters, approximately 400 words. HTML tags are not permitted, nor are more than two URLs per comment. We reserve the right to delete inappropriate comments.

Thank You!

Thank you for subscribing to the Tablet Magazine Daily Digest.
Please tell us about you.

The View from Israel

Wariness over Egypt and Jordan, and hope for common ground

More on Tablet:

A Grandfather’s Hidden Love Letters From Nazi Germany Reveal a Buried Past

By Vox Tablet — Reporter Sarah Wildman’s grandfather escaped Vienna in 1938. Long after he died, she discovered the life—and lover—he left behind.