Jordan and Israel: Partners in Peace

Jordan and Israel: Partners in Peace

October 17, 1999 - The New York Times

On October 26, 1994, with President Clinton by their side and the world watching, two visionary soldier-statesmen, Jordan’s King Hussein and Israel’s Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, met at a desert crossing and signed the second peace treaty between Israel and an Arab state.

Overcoming decades of war and mistrust, in a region only tentatively accepting of Arab-Israeli accommodation, Israel and Jordan opened a new path toward a future of peace and shared pros-perity.

Five years later, under King Abdullah and Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the commitment of both countries to building normal relations–and broadening Arab-Israeli peace–remains firm.

Today, the leaders of Israel and Jordan speak openly and often of their partnership. They are working together to strengthen Israeli-Jordanian ties in the interests of both peoples. They are dedicated to pressing ahead toward comprehen-sive peace through bilateral negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, Israel and Syria, and Israel and Lebanon.

Israel and Jordan have taken important joint steps toward enhanced trade and investment, the development of regional water resources, and expanded tourism. They are cooperating in the fight against terrorism. Progress in these and other areas summons other Arab states to fully normalize their relations with Israel and embrace peace.

Even as relations have deepened, recognition of the potential for Israeli-Jordanian peace has been uneven in the two countries. While governments press forward, public acceptance–notably among Jordan’s professional associations–lags behind. People-to-people exchanges are infrequent, and suspicions persist. The nations’ leaders have an obligation to broaden the base of peace.

And America has obligations, too. With sizable national interests at stake in the Middle East, we must support those who take risks for. To this end, we urge Congress promptly to fulfill President Clinton’s promise to aid Israel, Jordan and the Palestinians under the Wye River peace accord.

Challenges to Arab-Israeli reconciliation remain formidable. But the peace process inspires hope. And on this fifth anniversary of a pact sealed in the desert by two great leaders, peace between Jordan and Israel proves that hope can flower into reality.

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