THUMBS UP to the Wall Street Journals Editorial
Features Editor Max Boot for his astute December 14, 1998 column
shedding light on the differences between the Israel-Jordan relationship and
the Israel-Palestinian Authority one. With unusual directness Boot describes
Arafats thuggish conduct toward Israel, the orchestrated
rioting that erupts as a tool of PA policy and the refusal of the PA to root
out the infrastructure of Hamas.
He also describes a telling meeting in which reporters queried Arafat about
an official Palestinian document posted on the Internet that calls for the
eradication of Zionist
existence. The PA leader denounced
the document, saying it was written by an idiot aide to Israeli
Prime Minister Netanyahu. He then added, menacingly, eyes bulging, finger
wagging that the reporters should be careful, you are speaking to
Although Boot notes that Jordans record in combatting Hamas is not
spotless, he reports that Israeli officials are far more positive about the
kingdoms efforts than the PAs. On the Syrian front, the Jordanians
claim to have intercepted more than 700 infiltration attempts since 1990 by
weapons smugglers seeking to reach Israel and the West Bank.
Boot also points to a promising Jordan-Israel joint venture that receives
virtually no media attention. At a Qualifying Industrial Zone near
the Jordanian city of Irbid Jordanian and Israeli companies produce goods that
are shipped duty-free to the United States.
The writer observes that in the strategic calculus of the Middle East,
Jordan is a small but valuable counterweight to missile-toting bullies like
Syria, Iraq and Iran. Along with Israel and Turkey, Jordan is part of a de
facto pro-Western alliance.