Jordan Options: Jordan says ‘all options’ open as Gaza conflict intensifies

AMMAN: Jordan said on Monday it was leaving “all options” open in its response to what it called Israel’s failure to discriminate between military and civilian targets in its intensifying bombardment and invasion of the Gaza Strip.
Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh did not elaborate on what further steps Jordan would take, days after it recalled its ambassador from Israel in protest at Israel’s offensive against Gaza launched after a cross-border Oct.7 rampage by Hamas.
Jordan also announced last week that Israel’s ambassador, who left Amman shortly after Hamas’ attack, would not be allowed to come back to resume his duties for now, effectively declaring him persona non grata.
“All options are on the table for Jordan in our dealing with the Israeli aggression on Gaza and its repercussions,” Khasawneh, whose country signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994 – told state media.
Khasawneh said Israel’s siege of the densely populated Gaza was not self-defence as it maintains. “The brutal Israeli attack does not discriminate between civilian and military targets and is extending to safe areas and ambulances,” he said.
Israel has denied deliberately targeting civilian objects in heavily populated areas, saying Hamas was using civilians as human shields, had dug tunnels under hospitals and was using ambulances to transport its fighters.
Jordan is reviewing its economic, security and political ties with Israel and even looking at suspending further steps in implementing its peace treaty if the Gaza bloodshed gets much worse, diplomats familiar with Jordanian thinking said.
The Israel-Hamas war has reawakened long-standing fears in Jordan – home to a large population of Palestinian refugees and their descendants – that Israel could seize a chance to expel Palestinians en masse from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, where Israeli settler attacks on Palestinian inhabitants has surged since Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack.
Such worries have increased since Israel’s religious-nationalist ruling coalition, its most right-wing government ever, took office last year, with some hardliners espousing the “Jordan is Palestine option”.
Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said any move to drive Palestinians across to Jordan, which shares a border with the West Bank, was a “red line” amounting to a declaration of war.
“Any attempt to expel Palestinians in an attempt by Israel to change geography and demography we will confront,” Safadi said last week.
The Jordanian army has already beefed its positions along its borders, security sources said.
Jordan’s worries have taken centre stage in talks with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken since the Gaza war erupted and are likely to be raised in a meeting with CIA Director William Burns during a stopover in Jordan shortly, diplomats said.

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