Unity is more than just a naïve cliché, it’s a matter of national security – opinion

Israel is simultaneously dealing with several fronts, but it is precisely those that appear to be quieter that are most worrisome, primarily the Jordanian arena. 

Since its foundation, the Kingdom comprised a high percentage of Palestinians, some of whom are citizens of the Jordanian state, while the rest have remained in “refugee” status for decades. 

To this, masses of Syrian refugees who fled from the massacre perpetrated by the Syrian president were added in recent years.

Jordan understands the dangers

All this, while the Hashemite regime, that controls Jordan is not Palestinian and well understands the dangers inherent in the composition of the population to its survival and stability. 

It is doubtful if what was done against the coup attempt in “Black September” by the Jordanian regime in the 1970s will be feasible to emulate by the current regime, even at the cost of the Kingdom itself, both due to the weakness of the current rulers and to the fact that Queen Rania is Palestinian.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II meets with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Aqaba, Jordan, in this handout picture released on January 10, 2024 (credit: Royal Hashemite Court (RHC)/Handout via REUTERS)

Despite the Jordanian understanding of the potential internal danger lurking at home, it sometimes appears that the regime acts almost against its own interests.

In fact, Jordan insists on continuing to adhere to an outdated syllabus, which encourages hatred and incites the Jordanian crowd against Israel and Jews. 

Anyone who understands anything about the Arab world knows that the blatant antisemitism, which unfortunately has become an integral part of the value system of every Jordanian, does indeed encourage the public to divert tensions and frustrations away from the economic situation and the ills of society and vent anger against the “Zionist enemy.”

 But violent demonstrations against Israel and Jews tend to turn into fierce opposition to the government itself.

This happened, more than once, in Egypt and in Jordan. Furthermore, Israel and the US are essential for the continued survival of the Jordanian regime, on the economic, military, and intelligence levels. 

Incitement against Israel and the US spurs the Jordanian public to attack the Jordanian regime, if and when it adopts a policy that reflects cooperation with one of them, even when this cooperation is necessary for the national security of the Kingdom.

AND THAT brings me to the second point – in preserving this incitement-ridden education system, the Jordanian regime obliges itself to adhere to a harsh anti-Israel rhetoric, which is often contrary to Jordan’s security interests. 

Thus, we have almost become accustomed to hearing, every year during the month of Ramadan, senior Jordanian officials compete with Hamas as to who is more radical in their hatred of the “Zionist entity,” in order to prove to their own public that they are, indeed, deserving of this public support.

According to Muslim tradition, the Hashemite Kingdom in Jordan was entrusted with the responsibility of guarding al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, an asset that over the years has become one with the potential to enthuse the entire Muslim world. Therefore, the “ownership” or the “protection” thereof is desired by many groups in the Muslim world.

In recent years the Hamas movement – with Iranian encouragement – began to try and “seize ownership” of the Mosque, in order to create instability among the Arabs of Israel, the Arabs of east Jerusalem, and Muslims throughout the world.

During Ramadan in recent years, the Hamas terrorist group has adopted inflammatory rhetoric against Israel, accusing it of trying to damage and/or occupy the Mosque, while the Jordanian regime intensified the tone against Israel, in a manner of competition for the same “ownership” over this holy site.

Parallel to the above, Iran began to advance – methodically and with endless patience, starting in 1979 – its policy of taking over the Arab region first, and the West. 

This, while sowing instability and chaos in every country that it could do that in and that is in order to gain a foothold and influence and to establish some kind of military presence there – at times in the form of Shia militias and at times via a local Arab proxy.

Thus, it leveraged Hamas’s control of the Gaza Strip, starting in 2006, to establish its position in the southern periphery of Israel. It also strengthened its hold in that region, via support of the Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups.

Furthermore, Tehran also operated over the years in Judea and Samaria by strengthening Hamas and undermining the Palestinian Fatah rule, under the auspices of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (“Abu Mazen”), which advocates a secular ideology that is contrary to the religious view of Hamas and other Islamic movements.

In Lebanon, Iran strengthened Hamas above and beyond its unwavering support for Hezbollah as a voice in the region. All this, while undermining Lebanon on the economic and political levels to the core.

In Syria, Iran established an army of Shi’ite militias, and acted in the same manner in Iraq, which over the years and since the withdrawal of the United States, has become an Iranian stronghold on the borders of little Jordan.

BUT TEHRAN is yet unsatisfied and strives to create territorial continuity in the entire area up to the Jordanian border with Israel. Quietly and cunningly, Iran works to strengthen radical elements among the Palestinians in Jordan itself, and to strengthen the presence of Hamas in Jordanian territory.

The destabilization of the Kingdom is intended to further weaken the government in the country, and in due time cause masses of Palestinians to flock to the Jordanian-Israeli border, over 300 km. long – a situation that the IDF will have a hard time stopping.

Only in the last few weeks, the Kingdom seemingly “awakened” when King Abdullah II spoke out harshly against blatant attempts by the Hamas movement to “undermine the stability of the kingdom,” in his words.

When Israel recently hit a distinct Iranian target on Syrian soil, it actually targeted the Iranian Mullah regime’s world view, according to which a world-wide Sharia-based caliphate must control of the entire region and the West, by exploiting local extremist elements and without involving its own people and/or territory in the campaign.

All this, while Tehran continues almost uninterrupted, in equipping itself with unconventional weapons and nuclear capabilities for military purposes.

It is interesting to note that there were no overly harsh condemnations of the Israeli action from many Arab countries in the region, such as Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and more – since all of those countries, despite their difficult rhetoric against Israel, well understand the magnitude of the challenge that Iran poses to the entire world. 

Those who fail to understand this are in the West, whose democracies makes them more vulnerable to infiltration by hostile elements, such as Sunni Muslim Brotherhood activists on the one hand and Shi’ite Hezbollah cells and Iranian influence on the other.

MEANWHILE, IRAN does not stop at all from doing everything it possibly can, to destabilize Israel itself from within. 

Recognizing the existing political rifts in Israeli society, just as it recognized similar rifts in all the other countries which Iran had undermined and dismantled from within, Tehran is constantly at work to deepen the chasm inside Israel.

It does this by impersonating Israelis from different camps on social networks, pretending to take extreme positions on the Right and the Left. 

It does this through unceasing attempts to create Shi’ite cells also among Sunni Israeli Arabs in Arab cities in the country – although so far, with little success. It does this through incessant attempts to smuggle illegal weapons to elements of the Arab sector in Israel, belonging to the criminal network.

Therefore, in order to understand the nature and quality of the hostile activity against Israel in each of the aforementioned arenas, one must understand the picture as a whole and stop burying one’s head in the sand. The West in general and Israel in particular – are at least for now at the forefront of the world struggle – do not have the privilege to ignore the scale of the issue. 

If Iran has already succeeded in disintegrating Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, significant parts of Yemen, and Sudan, is on its way to disintegrating Jordan and has literally “bought” the corrupt ruling party in South Africa, the ANC, by erasing the huge debt it had accumulated, then it will try with all its might, and may even succeed, to destabilize the State of Israel from within.

This is The Plan. All we have to do, is not cooperate with the plot and understand that unity is more than just a naive cliché, but a matter of national security.

The writer is a research fellow at the Misgav Institute for National Security & Zionist Strategy in Jerusalem, a former deputy ambassador to Egypt, and past-MK.