After being sworn in on Thursday, December 29th, Benjamin Netanyahu and his government are ready to take the reins as the leaders of Israel. This marks Netanyahu’s record-breaking sixth term as prime minister, and many have suggested that this may be the nation’s “ most right-wing government” due to the composition of the cabinet. As the nation navigates a tumultuous political climate, King Abdullah II of Jordan has shared his concerns, particularly with regard to the holy site of Jerusalem. King Abdullah has warned that if ‘red lines’ are crossed, Jordan is prepared to respond accordingly.
The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Explained
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is exceedingly complex. The following will only address the general details. For a more comprehensive account, take a look here.
In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Jews in Europe faced increasing aggression and antisemitism, which led some Jews to seek a solution to this problem; one of these people was Theodore Herzl, who sought to revive the Zionist movement, a political organization with the goal of establishing a homeland for Jews outside of Europe. The Zionist movement gained support from various Jewish communities and political leaders, and it also faced significant opposition and criticism from multiple groups, including Palestinian Arab leaders and some members of the Jewish community.
On April 25th, 1920, the League of Nations granted Britain a mandate over Palestine, which included two provisions. The first provision stated that Britain was responsible for establishing a civil administration in Palestine, and the second provision incorporated the Balfour Declaration, which stated that establishing a Jewish nation should concern itself with preserving the civil and religious rights of non-Jewish inhabitants in Palestine. However, the Balfour Declaration did not address the political or national rights of the non-Jewish inhabitants of Palestine, and it was seen as controversial by many Palestinian Arabs and other groups.
In the years following the grant of the mandate, tensions between Jews and Palestinians in Palestine increased, and instances of violence and displacement occurred on both sides. Finally, in 1948, the British Mandate in Palestine ended, and Israel declared independence. This event was followed by the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, in which five Arab nations invaded the formerly mandated territory. The conflict and its aftermath had significant consequences for the region and its people, including the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs and the establishment of the state of Israel.
What were the Previous Agreements Relating to The Holy Sites in Jerusalem?
In 1980, Israel passed the "Basic Law: Jerusalem, Capital of Israel," declaring the city as the country's capital. However, this was not recognized by the international community. In fact, the United Nations considered it a violation of international law.
In 2017, the United States recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, announcing its intention to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city. The international community widely criticized this decision. In response, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in 2018 condemning the Unites States’ recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and calling upon states not to relocate their diplomatic missions to the city.
In 2020, the United States proposed a peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which included a proposal for a Palestinian capital in eastern Jerusalem. However, this plan was rejected by Palestine. As a result, the situation in Jerusalem remains unresolved and continues to be a point of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In 2021, tensions between Israel and Palestine flared again, leading to violence and clashes in Jerusalem.
How Is Jordan Involved and What is Jordan’s Concern?
Since 1924, “Jordan’s Hashemite monarchy has been the custodian of Jerusalem’s holy sites…and sees itself as the guarantor of the religious rights of Muslims and Christians in the city.” The new leadership, particularly Ben Gvir, Israel’s newly appointed national security minister, has concerned King Abdullah II about possible escalations that might emerge in Jerusalem if Gvir decides to increase policing in Jerusalem's holy sites. King Abdullah II has stated that he fully supports Israel’s democratic processes and will remain open to working with the newfound leadership at full capacity. However, if there are any challenges to the status of Jerusalem, appropriate measures will be taken by Jordan. The King has not yet clarified what those measures will be.
We will update you as developments emerge.
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