Signs of Escalation in the West Bank?
Yesterday, media outlets reported that Jordanian tanks were moving towards the border with the West Bank. This came after officials from the kingdom confirmed that the armed forces were in a state of heightened combat readiness. What is behind these developments and what are the implications for the Palestinian-Israeli conflict?
The Position of Jordan
Like many other Middle Eastern states, Jordan has tried to find a balance between supporting Palestine as a kind of political obligation and fearing the loss of Washington’s favor. Therefore, the movement of Jordanian forces can hardly be interpreted as a preparation for joining the conflict, which is a scenario that seems more than unlikely at this point.
On the other hand, similar to Egypt, Jordan would have a reason to militarize the border with the West Bank if there was a risk of persecution of Palestinians and their crossing into the kingdom’s territory, as is the case with the Gaza Strip and the plan to expel Palestinians to Sinai. However, Israeli raids on the West Bank are unlikely to carry the same risk as the catastrophic events in Gaza.
What Could Change the Situation in the West Bank?
Nevertheless, in light of the accusations of the Egyptian president that the president of the Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas betrayed Gaza and that his organization cooperates with Tel Aviv, it is not excluded that events will take place in the near future that will dramatically change the situation on the ground.
One possible scenario would involve the collapse of Fatah in the West Bank and the rise to power of more radical forces, ready to engage in a conflict against Israel, while another would involve the liquidation of the Palestinian Authority following Tel Aviv’s move in Gaza.
Although at this moment, such claims remain in the domain of speculation and are hardly rooted in known facts, the undeniable fact is that Jordan’s military-political activity is on the rise (including the planned visit of Ursula von der Leyen to the kingdom). What are the exact reasons for this activity, however, will be shown by time.