Last week, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel over the “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.
Jordan has expressed its support for Qatar as it rallies to mediate for the release of captives held by Hamas in Gaza and warned of consequences in the case of the forced displacement of Palestinians from the besieged Strip and the West Bank.
Speaking to Al Araby TV on Monday, the official spokesman for the Jordanian government Muhannad Mubaidin said Amman “supports Qatari mediation related to the prisoners’ file”.
Mubaidin was referring to Doha’s most recent diplomatic tussle, in which it has taken on a crucial role to help release civilian captives captured during the historic ‘Operation Al Aqsa Flood’ as part of wider de-escalation efforts.
The operation saw Hamas capture at least 230 Israeli and foreign captives and kill more than 1,400 Israelis. Shortly after, Israel’s western allies, including the United States, sought assistance from Doha to help secure their release.
Mediation reached a breakthrough early one with the release of four captives on “humanitarian grounds” last month, though little progress has been made since. Qatari officials have blamed the stalemate on Israel’s non-stop bombardment of Gaza and say a period of calm is needed to facilitate negotiations.
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) has used the captives’ file as a bargaining chip since it launched its deadliest war on Gaza shortly after the Palestinian operation. Within a month, the IOF killed at least 10,328 Palestinians, including 4,104 children—40% of the overall toll.
‘A declaration of war‘
The bombardment of the densely populated enclave has displaced at least one million people and comes amid heightened concerns of an Israeli plan to clear out Gaza and force its native population into neighbouring Sinai.
Mubaidin warned that any plans to displace Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank—where the IOF has intensified its raids over the last week—would be considered by Amman as a declaration of war without elaborating further.
“The basic demand now is a ceasefire in Gaza and the entry of urgent humanitarian and medical aid,” Mubaidin said. He noted:“Jordan is aware that Israel is determined to destroy and create a new reality.”
On the same day, Jordan’s Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh said “all options are on the table for Jordan in our dealing with the Israeli aggression on Gaza and its repercussions.”
The official said Israel’s siege of the densely populated Gaza was “not self-defence” as it has maintains. “The brutal Israeli attack does not discriminate between civilian and military targets and is extending to safe areas and ambulances,” he added.
The bold statements come despite Jordan maintaining its ties with Israel under the 1994 Wadi Araba Peace Treaty which guarantees the former the restoration of its occupied areas of Al-Baqoura and Al-Ghumar.
Amman is also the host of a large population of Palestinians that were forcibly dispossessed in 1948 during the Nakba, or “catastrophe”, that marked the establishment of Israel. The Jordanian government fears a possible refugee crisis in the aftermath of the current Gaza war.
Last week, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi “immediately” recalled its ambassador to Israel over the “unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.
The kingdom said it would only send back its envoy if Israel halts its onslaught and called on Tel Aviv to recall its ambassador to Amman. Israel had already evacuated its embassies in Jordan as well as other countries that it shares ties with, including Bahrain and Morocco last month.
On October 27, Jordan proposed a resolution on behalf of the Arab League to the United Nations General Assembly that called for a “humanitarian truce”. An overwhelming 120 nations voted in favour while 14 voted against it, including the United States.
At least four ceasefire resolutions have been blocked since the start of the war by Israel’s Western allies who have instead called for “a humanitarian pause”. Israel has dismissed such calls and vowed to continue bombarding Gaza with “all its power”.
So far, Israel has dropped more than 25,000 tonnes of explosives on Gaza since the start of the war, the equivalent to two nuclear bombs, according to Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.
The brutal months-long war has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians including at least 4,100 children. Rights group Defense for Children International-Palestine warned Israel is killing Palestinian children at unprecedented rate.