Jordan’s King Abdullah II—after ordering to dissolve the country’s parliament on Sunday—appointed a politician known for his strong ties to Israel as the new Jordanian prime minister, Al Jazeera reported.
Although Jordan’s government has a peace treaty with Israel, a majority of the outgoing Jordanian parliament’s members held anti-Israel views. But the newly appointed prime minister, Hani Mulki, chaired the Jordanian government committee that negotiated peace with Israel from 1994-1996. He is expected to now join the effort to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
“Mulki will be working to bring Palestinians and Israelis to the negotiation table and work to bring a final solution to the Palestinian cause which most likely will be at the expense of the Palestinian people,” Husam Abdallat, a former senior government aide within the Jordanian prime minister’s office, told Al Jazeera.
Tareq al-Fayed, a Jordanian policy analyst and a journalist at the London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi newspaper, said Mulki will have two major tasks while in office.
“The first is to manage the news phase of the parliamentary elections and set the government’s political agenda. The second is to manage Israeli-Jordanian relations, which have seen tension over Israel’s policies and encroachment on the Palestinians in Jerusalem and against Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Fayed told Al Jazeera. Although Jordan in April released a statement slamming “Israeli settlers and police” for storming the “Al-Aqsa Mosque/Al-Haram al-Sharif (Temple Mount),” Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu has vowed to maintain the Israeli-Jordanian-Palestinian status quo of a ban on Jewish prayer at the Har Habayis.
Fayed also said that under Mulki, the possible strengthening of Israeli-Jordanian relations could encourage Israeli investment in Jordan’s economy.