Theses defended

The Israeli-Jordanian Peace Process: Ontological Security and Processes of (De)Securitization

Ricardo Palmela de Oliveira

Public Defence date
July 3, 2023
Doctoral Programme
International Politics and Conflict Resolution
Teresa Almeida Cravo
Studies on the Israel-Palestinian conflict have often overlooked the role of Jordan in the Middle East peace process. From early on, the Israel-Jordan relationship was characterized by contradictions as they fought each other in several wars while maintaining covert cooperation. Ultimately, a peace agreement signed in 1994 formalized and institutionalized their relationship. Almost 30 years after its signing, despite good security cooperation between the governments, and to a lesser extent economic relations, the peace has failed to improve people-to-people relations and remained cold. Moreover, the Jordanian people, estimated to be 60% of Palestinian origin remained highly hostile toward Israel. In this thesis, we analyze Israel-Jordan relations and their peace process through an Ontological Security and Securitization Theory lens. Based on the idea that the ontological security of some actors, increases the ontological security of others, we explore the impacts of the peace treaty in the Israeli and Jordanian societies. Here we treat the state as a heterogenous entity where different ontological securities and (de)securitization processes may coexist or collide. We do so by carrying a historical contextual analysis of the Israeli-Jordan relations from war times to the peace treaty's first 20 years. Then we proceed to an in-depth analysis of the 2017-2020 timeframe, a period characterized by multiple tensions between the Israeli and Jordanian governments. For this last period in particular, we have collected 2255 documents from Israeli, Jordanian, and international sources that were analyzed through Interpretive Process Tracing and Critical Discourse Analysis Methodologies. Here we explore how diverging ontological securities correlate with (de)securitization processes placing obstacles to a full normalization of Israel-Jordan relations and to the construction of a positive peace.