Aqaba Rocket 311.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
President Shimon Peres was not exaggerating on Monday when he said, following the Katyusha rocket attack on Eilat and Aqaba, that Israel and Jordan were working together in the fight against terror.
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In recent years, with the standstill in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, there has been a deterioration in diplomatic ties between Jerusalem and Amman.
Just last week, for example, after a year without meeting, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu flew to Amman to meet King Abdullah, who reportedly agreed to hold the meeting only after receiving a personal request to do so from US President Barack Obama.
Behind the tension is genuine Jordanian concern regarding the lack of progress in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and fears in Amman of the increasing influence the Iranian- led axis is having over the region.
However, that concern has, at the same time, heralded a new era in defense ties between the IDF and the Jordanian Armed Forces. Today, military commanders are in regular contact with one another from the highest levels down to the brigade commanders deployed along the Israeli-Jordanian border.
A joint exercise, which was revealed in the foreign press, was a search-and-rescue exercise held in the Jordan Valley late last year.
There have also been rescue operations for stranded Israeli hikers in Jordan that were carried out over the past year jointly by Israeli and Jordanian forces.
While political talks are infrequent, defense delegations to Jordan have actually increased in recent years, many of them led by Maj.- Gen. (res.) Amos Gilad, head of the Defense Ministry’s Diplomatic-Security Bureau.
One delegation traveled to Jordan last summer in an attempt to alleviate concerns that Israel planned to transfer Palestinians from the West Bank to the Hashemite Kingdom. At the after National Union MK Arye Eldad raised a proposal in the Knesset that Palestinians be given Jordanian citizenship.
More recently, according to World Net Daily, a defense delegation traveled to Jordan for talks with top defense officials in June to discuss a wide range of issues, including the Iranian nuclear threat. Jordan is particularly concerned by Iran’s growing influence over the region and defense officials, who participated in the talks, claimed that the anti-Iranian rhetoric in Jordan was unprecedented in its severity.
The Katyusha rockets that struck in Aqaba were likely meant to hit
Eilat, but they did make clear that the terrorists who are moving freely
throughout the Sinai Peninsula threaten not only Israel, but also
It is also in both countries’ interest to
stop the terrorism, and demands will likely be placed on Egypt which,
despite its longstanding claim that the Sinai is terror-free, is
responsible for preventing attacks in the future.
To do so the
Egyptians will have to crack down on the Beduin who live in the Sinai
and provide logistical support to terrorist elements from al-Qaida and
Hamas. Until that happens, the rockets fired into Eilat on Monday could
be just the beginning.