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Archive for Tuesday, July 26, 1994

TREATY STEP TOWARD STABILITY, KU PROF SAYS

July 26, 1994

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Israel and Jordan will likely develop a relationship similar to that of Egypt and the Jewish state, a KU expert says.

A pact signed Monday ending the state of hostility between Israel and Jordan is an important step toward a comprehensive Middle East peace, a Kansas University professor said.

"Clearly it's another step forward in the effort toward regional peace and stability," said Deborah Gerner, associate professor of political science who specializes in the Middle East.

"It is, however, only a first step, albeit an extremely important first step," she said.

The pact signed Monday at the White House is the second peace-related accord ceremony in less than a year. Although not technically a peace treaty, the agreement states the end of "belligerency" between Jordan and Israel.

Today, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Jordan's King Hussein also became the first Jewish and Arab leaders to address Congress at the same time.

Last September, Rabin and Palestinian Liberation Organization chief Yasser Arafat signed an agreement granting partial autonomy to Palestinians in some Israeli-occupied lands. But actual Israeli troop withdrawal took months after the agreement was signed.

Gerner said that in some ways the Israeli-Jordanian agreements could move ahead more smoothly because Jordan is an existing state, while the Palestinians still are trying to form a government.

"I think what we're going to see is the evolution of the Israeli-Jordanian relationship similar to the Israeli-Egyptian agreement signed years ago," she said.

Monday's declaration paved the way for the opening of telephone service, sharing of electric grids and creation of two border crossings between Jordan and Israel.

With peace accords now in place with Egypt and planned with Jordan and the Palestinians, Syria and Lebanon remain the only states that border Israel that are technically still at war with the Jewish state, without public initiatives.

Gerner said she would not be surprised if secret negotiations were being held or planned between Israel and Syria.

"Secret negotiations never surprise me," she said. "Most of the significant work gets done when it's not in the limelight.

"By doing things secretly, you can work out some ideas and you haven't committed yourself publicly."

In addition, she said, most breakthroughs between Israel and its neighbors in recent years have involved a third-party, such as the United States.

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