Could Jordan’s Economic Crisis Solve the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?
Jordan is facing an economic crisis that began forming over 20 years ago, when Abdullah II was crowned king.
The most important factors that led to this crisis have been mismanagement, rampant corruption, and lack of control and accountability. Jordan’s foreign debt is currently close to $50 billion, and the unemployment rate is over 20% — a record in the country.
Jordan faced a similar crisis in the days of late King Hussein bin Talal. This crisis ended with the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, which led then-US President Bill Clinton to erase part of Jordan’s foreign debt to America, and increase US assistance to Jordan, forming a strategic Jordanian alliance with America.
Now Jordan again needs to address an internal crisis.
There are several steps that Jordan must implement if it is to recover from the situation, return to a debt free status, and not repeat the same crisis again a few decades from now.
First, Jordan needs to follow the example of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, who cracked down on corrupt officials in Saudi Arabia.
Second, Jordan must appoint the right person with the right qualifications to the position of prime minister, in order to eventually establish a constitutional monarchy in Jordan. This will lead to a full democracy in Jordan, in which Jordanian citizens elect their prime minister. At the same time, Jordan must ban the Muslim Brotherhood in order to ensure that Jordan will remain peaceful.
Third, the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation must be restructured, because a large part of Jordan’s economic crisis has been due to poor planning in the country. Likewise, appropriate appointments must be made to put the right people in the right jobs to manage administrative matters in all ministries and agencies.
Fourth, let us recall an important point mentioned above — when Jordan signed its peace treaty with Israel in 1994, President Clinton deleted part of Jordan’s foreign debt to the US. What Jordan needs now is to intervene to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in coordination with the Palestinian Authority.
Jordan should become a homeland for both Jordanians and Palestinians, thus ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by creating a home for the Palestinians.
Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan — this is what the late King Hussein bin Talal said.
In return, there must be a guarantee of American and Israeli mediation that will result in the complete elimination of Jordan’s foreign debt, which is part of the price the international community should pay Jordan for solving one of the hardest conflicts in the world. The international community must also increase international aid and financial support from the Arab Gulf states for Jordan in order to make sure Jordan will not collapse. In order to ensure the security of the Middle East in the future, they must ensure the survival of the Hashemites on the throne of Jordan, who have played a role in establishing regional and international peace.
All of these steps must be taken in order to get Jordan out of its stifling and deadly crisis on the one hand, and guarantee that it will not return to a new suffocating economic crisis in the future on the other. This will also solve one of the oldest and most complicated conflicts in the world and mark Jordan as one of the countries that has contributed the most to world peace.
Rami Dabbas is a civil engineer by profession who writes for several media outlets. He is a pro-Israel advocate, peace campaigner, and political activist speaking out against terrorism.
A version of this article was also published in The Jerusalem Herald.