Photo’s source:; Thousands of Jordanians gather during a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in Amman, Jordan. [Laith Al-jnaidi – Anadolu Agency]


Abstract. This article examines the intricate dynamics of Jordan’s involvement in the Gaza conflict, shedding light on its strategic alliance with Israel, a stance that has drawn intense criticism domestically and internationally. The analysis delves into the historical context that shaped Jordan’s alignment with Israel, citing economic dependence on U.S. aid and regional geopolitics as significant factors influencing its foreign policy. The resulting internal turmoil, exacerbated by Jordan’s strict measures against pro-Palestinian protests, raises concerns about escalating tensions that could destabilize the region further. In addition, the article draws parallels with Romania, emphasizing the importance of national sovereignty and advocating for peace amid escalating conflicts.


The Gaza conflict has been making headlines all over the world for months, having tragically led to an immense number of deaths and an even bigger number of soon-to-be refugees. Jordan, the Sunni Islamic kingdom neighbouring both Israel and the West Bank, and Syria, has stood out in recent months as the only Arab nation that supports Israel. Jordan’s role as an Israeli ally has been highlighted by Iran’s 13th of April attack, which has resulted in the creation of a defensive military alliance between Israel, the US, France, and Jordan, and signified Jordan’s definitive break from its natural Arab allies (Harb 2024). Although Jordan’s queen, the respected Queen Rania, who has gained an immense international following, is of Palestinian descent, Jordan jumped at the occasion of helping Israel during the tensest moment in the history of Israeli-Palestinian relations, offering the Israelis and the Americans the military bases necessary to defend themselves from the Iranian attack, and even intercepting all of the Iranian missiles that entered its airspace (Shaer et al. 2024; Simardon 2024). The Jordanian Foreign Minister even invited the Iranian Ambassador to a meeting that aimed to explain why Tehran should cease its illegal attacks against Israel (Times of Israel 2024). And this considering that the Iranian attack did not result in any deaths and constituted lawful self defense against the Israeli attack on the Iranian embassy in Damascus according to the UN Charter and the Vienna Convention (United Nations 1945; 1961).

Internal Turmoil

Although the Iranian attack did not result in any deaths, it constituted a reprisal of great significance for Palestinians and Muslim people everywhere, and the Jordanian perceived betrayal was not taken lightly. Jordan’s continued support of the Israeli government has been faced with protests for decades, yet protester numbers have greatly increased as a result of the government’s direct support of the Israeli army, and their suppression is proving increasingly complicated (Schwedler 2003; 2018; Shaer et al. 2024). In addition, the Jordanian king, Abdullah II, has declared all Palestinian symbols, including the flag, illegal in response to the pro-Palestine protests, criminalizing their display and creating even more discord between leaders and citizens. (Klarenberg 2024). Although the vast majority of Jordanians are Muslim and thus are expected to stand in solidarity with their Palestinian neighbours, the severity of these protests stands out when considering that Jordan is ranked second in the world, after Lebanon, in the ranking of countries with the highest percentage of refugees relative to the population (UNHCR 2024). In Jordan there are 2.3 million registered Palestinian refugees, approximately one-fifth of the population, this number excluding the many who have fled war and have not registered or the 1.2 million Syrian refugees (UNHCR 2024; UNRWA 2024). Thus, outrage at their governments requests that they should leave their neighbours, friends, and even families to face the horrors of war runs high among the people of Jordan. The suppression of protests has subsequently led to outrage from other neighbouring states. Kataib Hezbollah, the Iraqi Shia resistance organization, has even declared that it is ready to arm 12,000 fighters from Jordan to destroy the land connection between Jordan and Israel and defend their Palestinian ‘brothers’ (MEMO 2024). The possibility of an escalation of the Gaza conflict is thus very real and dangerous, further exacerbated by Jordan’s direct and open support for Israel’s actions.

Historical Context

Nevertheless, until 1970 Jordan had fought on the side of its Palestinian neighbours, but since then has supported Israel, forced by economic considerations to sign a peace treaty that would allow it to receive numerous economic benefits and resources from Israel and its Western allies (Winckler 2021). Jordan is the second Arab country to normalize relations with Israel, after Egypt, and although it supported the accusation of Israeli genocide at the UN, since 1970 it has never de facto discouraged Israeli violence (Cunningham 1998). Why is that? Jordan is actually a rentier state, that is, a state that is dependent on a single external source of income, income controlled by an authoritarian monarch or president and his allies (Beblawi 1987). This term is usually used to describe countries dependent on natural resources, such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, or Nigeria, and is used by academics mainly to explain why citizens do not revolt when living under an authoritarian system. However, Jordan is a special case, as it is seen as the only rentier state in the world economically dependent on external aid, which of course comes from the US, the largest foreign aid donor in the world (Muasher 2011; Statista 2023; Tsantes 2013). Jordan’s reliance on US foreign aid is a result of its lack of natural resources and of a strong industrial sector (JT 2023). Thus, some analysts have declared that Washington conditions its foreign policy, US’ close ties with Israel being a possible reason why Jordan is unable to appease its protesters and end its support of Israel (Fishman 2022; Noureddine 2022). Others go even further and declare that Jordan is being kept in a state of perpetual poverty by the US, precisely to be the Arab ally of Israel and to continue receiving all refugees from conflicts in the Middle East (Brynen 1992). Although there is not sufficient proof to back these accusations, the relationship between the US and Jordan is of great significance, and there is a convergence between American and Jordanian policies regarding defensive operations in the region.  Thus, whether the Jordanian backing of Israel is conditioned by the US or not, tensions are escalating in Amman regarding the renewed support for Israel. Although the chances for a direct spill over of the conflict seem low, if the number of Palestinian refugees in Jordan continues to increase as a result of the current violence as it has done in the past, the number of protesters would greatly increase and the government’s pro-Israel stance could become the cause for an internal conflict in Jordan.

Romania – the Jordan of Europe

The bellicose state of affairs in the Middle East is unfortunately not the only crisis the world is facing at the moment. Although there are numerous conflicts around the world, the other war that the world is paying most attention to and that has attracted international involvement is the war in Ukraine. Bordering NATO states and the EU, and reviving echoes of Cold War mentalities, the war in Ukraine has also proven very difficult to manage, and reports of potential spillovers have further concerned European policymakers (DiCarlo 2022; RAND 2023; Reuters 2024).

As a Romanian, it becomes increasingly hard to analyse situations around the world without comparing them to my home country. As such, I would like to enunciate some rhetorical questions, which prove a number of similarities between Jordan’s dicey situation and our own. Do we also have leaders who follow the Western powers in policy-making? Is our economy dependent on EU funds and the goodwill of multinational companies, for instance OMV- Austria, which are the main players in our industries? Do we also stand by a war in our neighbouring state in order to please our foreign dominant powers instead of advocating for peace? In a way, the situation in Romania is even direr, as the Jordanians had no choice but to succumb to international pressures: their status as a former colony and their lack of resources or economic backbone restrained them for pursuing a sovereign future. Romania, on the other hand, boasts a sovereign past and a geography favourable to economic autonomy, thus leaders’ willingness to succumb to international pressures and support the perpetuation of war is inexcusable. Romania has the added pressures of an election-loaded year ahead: if strong leaders that are willing to pursue peace and independent policy are not elected, a perpetual crisis of the likes of Jordan can soon appear in our side of the world as well. Thus, the importance of peace is paramount, for both Jordan and Romania, and for all of the countries in the world that might be involved if current conflicts escalate: “The real and lasting victories are those of peace, not war.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson.



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Disclaimer. The views and opinions expressed in this analysis are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of MEPEI. Any content provided by our authors is of their opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

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About the author:

Daria GUȘĂ

Mrs. Daria GUȘĂ is an International Relations and Middle East Studies Masters student at the University of St Andrews and a journalist for Solid News and Diplomatic Affairs.

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