Israel’s Quiet Neighbors


If we go down the list of demonstrated acts of good faith characterized by mutual interest, Egypt emerges as a good partner, albeit a silent one, for Israel in these emotionally intense times. While it has never been in Egypt’s interest to sing Israel’s praises, one can’t help but assume that Egypt has built a grudging respect for its northern neighbor, if only for the successes they have shared in neutralizing the violence along its shared borders. Israel’s attempt to neutralize Hamas, which has had close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, a direct threat to the current Egyptian government, both internally and externally, must also have Egypt looking on with great interest.


Jordan’s ruling political arm has got to be remembering similar hysterics and bloodshed with the Palestinians from 1970. No doubt the 10 month long civil war led by the PLO still resonates in the national consciousness. The parallels must be evident in what is happening today. Jordan, representing the most stable Middle Eastern government in the region, and probably wanting to keep itself that way, would therefore also have an interest in what happens to Israel. To the extent that Palestinians can either take or compromise Israel, Jordan would likely come under pressure from its own Palestinian population to have a greater Palestinian influence. According to Wikipedia, Palestinians make up about 50% of Jordan’s population, 80% of which are still considered to have “refugee status.” Such a large portion who still might see themselves as disenfranchised could be troublesome.

Loss or severe compromise of Israel by the Palestinians would encourage an outright electrical shunt between Egypt and Jordan. Those countries would stand to be significantly threatened, menaced, and perhaps eventually attacked. And as it is no secret that Hamas has included even more radicalized Sunni groups to join the fray, Jordan’s northern borders, once Jordan’s internal organization was compromised, could be more easily breached by such groups as Islamic State.

I hope that Israeli leadership, and its quiet neighbors, are making use of this regional view. I would have to assume that because I have thought of it, they have too.

Israel’s standing in the world is incredibly important, which explains in part why it always gets so much attention from the media, although I doubt for the reasons I’ve mentioned..


About the Author
Victor Salkowitz is a retired Clinical Social Worker with over 30 years experience in prisons, child welfare, and adult mental health agencies. He received his B.A. in Psychology from UC Davis and an MSW from UC Berkeley, becoming licensed in 1991.