Preventing Renewed Interstate Conflict Between Israel And Jordan
Year(s): 1991 – 1994.
Location: Israel/Jordan International Border.
UN Regional Group: Asia-Pacific/Western Europe and Others.
Type of Conflict: Risk of an Interstate Conflict.
Type of Initiative: Mediation of a peace agreement.
Main Implementing Organisation(s): The UN and the governments of Israel, Jordan, and the USA.
Summary: The mediation efforts of the Government of USA ended the state of war between Israel and Jordan that had existed for 46 years, greatly reducing the risk of further interstate conflict and stabilising the region.
Description of Case
Israel and Jordan were in state of war with each other from the day that Israel was established in 1948. This status continued unchanged regardless of whether there was any actual fighting, preventing bilateral dialogue or reconciliation between them despite the extensive international border that they share. This left a host of issues unresolved, ranging from disputed territorial claims over the West Bank and East Jerusalem to the use of water resources on the River Jordan. Further armed conflicts took place between Israel and Jordan in 1967 and 1974, demonstrating that the state of war was not only symbolic. Although informal communications channels were developed between the two states in the 1980s, the permanent state of war posed a constant risk of sparking an armed conflict which was likely engulf the entire region.
Recognising the threat to regional peace and security that was posed by the state of war between Israel and Jordan, the governments of the USA and Soviet Union came together in October 1991 to invite delegates from Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and the Palestinian community to a peace conference in Madrid. Talks at the conference were followed up in Washington, DC in December 1991, where a lengthy peace process between the governments of Israel and Jordan began. After two years of negotiations mediated by US officials, the belligerents agreed to the Common Agenda in September 1993, which provided a framework for wide-ranging negotiations on improving the security situation, sharing water, returning refugees, resolving territorial disputes, and even future bilateral cooperation. Talks continued, with King Hussein of Jordan and Prime Minister Rabin of Israel holding their first public meeting in Washington, DC in July 1994. This round of negotiations culminated in July 1994 with the Washington Declaration, mediated by US President William Clinton, whereby the war was formally ended, bilateral relations were established, and areas of cooperation were introduced. In October 1994, the talks concluded with the signing of the Israel-Jordan Treaty of Peace, which formalised many aspects of the Washington Declaration. This peace process greatly reduced the likelihood of armed conflict between the two states, which remain at peace to this day.
 Jewish Virtual Library. Israel-Jordan Relations: Overview of Peace Negotiations. (Jewish Virtual Library, 2020) Available at: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/overview-of-israel-jordan-peace-negotiations (Accessed 08/12/2020)
 Agreed Common Agenda, 1993. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/israeljordan-commonagenda93 (Accessed 08/12/2020)
 Washington Declaration, 1994. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/israeljordan-washingtondeclaration94 (Accessed 08/12/2020)
 Treaty of Peace between the State of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, 1994. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/israeljordan-peacetreaty94 (Accessed 08/12/2020)