There was once much hope that the peace treaties Egypt and Jordan signed, in 1979 and 1994 respectively, will generate momentum and further expand peace with other Arab parties, especially Syria and the Palestinians. But after many years of fruitless efforts to build on these two landmark peace deals, the prospect of peace in the region is very low indeed.
Jordan and Egypt have consistently told Israel that the peace accords they accepted to sign were not intended to be the end game or their ultimate goal, but rather to serve as a prelude to other such agreements that would usher in an era of regional peace.
Peace in the Middle East is indivisible and neither Jordan nor Egypt can succeed in sustaining their peace deals with Israel for long in isolation from the remaining Arab parties.
Without comprehensive peace in the area, Jordan's efforts to maintain its peace accord with Israel can be short circuited.
Israeli provocative actions in East Jerusalem and its continued settlement activities on Palestinian lands are only the symptoms of a deeper crisis between Israel and the Arab world.
The growing Arab lack of trust in peace agreements with Israel feeds on the Israeli lack of conviction in peace arrangements with the Arab side.
The notion that there are peace dividends has not entered the Israeli psyche, and this is where greater effort must be made. Israelis can be shown that they stand to benefit a great deal from a just, genuine, comprehensive and enduring peace treaty.
Real peace between the two sides would end the demographic dangers to Israel and bring an effective end to all outside existential threats to it.
Peace would mean secure borders for all states in the region and the end of all forms of violence. It would also bring normalcy into the lives of all peoples in the area and bring forth an era of active economic development and prosperity.
Trade and commerce between the two sides can only flourish in an environment of peace. Israel has an edge when it comes to technology in the region and it stands to profit a lot from this advantage.
To be sure, the Arab side can also realise great benefits when just and genuine peace conditions prevail in the Middle East. The Arab side understands well the advantages of peace, while Israel seems to be blind to them.
By Walid M. Sadi
© Jordan Times 2010
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