This week we received a few reminders that in certain significant ways, the discourse in Israel and hence the policymaking is very much stuck in the 1990s.
The first reminder came on Sunday when Jordan’s King Abdullah abruptly announced that he is rescinding two annexes of the peace deal that then prime minister Yitzhak Rabin signed with his father the late King Hussein in 1994. Not only did he give Israel no prior warning of his plan to abrogate the annexes, but Abdullah made the announcement on the 23rd anniversary of Rabin’s assassination.
The annexes in question involved Israel leasing from Jordan two border areas, one in the South and one in the North. Rabin ceded sovereignty claims over the areas in 1994 in exchange for a 25-year lease, which was supposed to be extended automatically next year.
There isn’t much Israel can do about Abdullah’s hostile move. The agreement clearly permits Jordan not to renew the lease for another 25 years if it gives Israel one-year’s notice.