Newly-appointed Jordanian Prime Minister Hani Mulki enjoys long and strong ties with Israeli leaders, which would not only enable him to smooth over bilateral differences, but also bring in Israeli capital and investment to help the faltering Jordanian economy.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has appointed veteran politician Hani Mulki as the new prime minister responsible for forming an interim government with parliamentary elections slated to take place in the next four months, while ordering the resignation of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour’s government, as its four-year term came to an end on Sunday.
The new prime minister-designate Mulki, 65, was the head of the Aqaba economic zone before he was chosen by King Abdullah. He previously chaired the Jordanian government committee that negotiated with Israel from 1994-96.
Husam Abdallat, a former senior government aide in the Jordanian prime minister’s office, told al-Jazeera that Mulki will most likely be given the job of attempting to engineer new negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis.
“Mulki will be working to bring Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiation table and work to bring a final solution to the Palestinian cause which most likely be at the expense of the Palestinian people,” he told al-Jazeera.
One of the final acts of the outgoing parliament last week was the passing of the “investment law”, which allows foreign countries, including Israel, to invest in strategic projects in Jordan, such as energy and infrastructure development.
The majority of parliamentarians voted in a morning session against the inclusion of Israel in the law, but later in the day went on to rescind that vote.
Fayed Tareq al-Fayed, an Amman-based analyst on Jordanian affairs and a journalist at the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper noted that Mulki enjoys long and strong ties with Israeli leaders, which would not only enable him to smooth over bilateral differences, but also bring in Israeli capital and investment to help the faltering Jordanian economy.
Complex Israel-Jordan Relations
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, which resolved the territorial disputes between the countries and included water-sharing agreements. The countries signed a trade treaty in 1996, and economic ties since then have developed and grown. Two years ago, Israel and Jordan signed a $500 million natural gas deal effective for 15 years.
Israel’s security and intelligence ties with Jordan are more discreet, but have likewise strengthened and developed, especially since the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 and the rise of the Islamic State.
Relations have also hit some rocky spots in recent years however, especially over Jewish access to the Temple Mount compound. Jordan has repeatedly demanded that Israel prevent religious Jews from entering the site, which is holy to Jews and Muslims, and has even recalled its ambassador over the issue in the past.
Moreover, the Jordanian people, comprised mostly of Palestinians, overwhelmingly oppose the peace treaty and reject any form of normalization with Israel. The recent announcement by the speaker of the parliament reflects this position and it remains to be seen whether King Abdullah II and his successors will continue to maintain ties with Israel in the future or if they will concede to public opinion at some point.
By: United with Israel Staff
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