King Hussein of Jordan will go down in history as a security asset to the US, Great Britain, and, in his final years, to the state of Israel.
That does not mean that King Hussein was committed to the better interests of the state of Israel or of the Jewish people.
One of King Hussein’s first acts as the monarch of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in the early fifties was to oversee the razing of fifty seven synagogues in the ancient old city of Jerusalem, while giving orders to obliterate the old Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.
Under King Hussein’s direction, the Intercontinental Hotel was constructed on top of the Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery, where gravestones were used as concrete slabs for the hotel’s foundation.
Meanwhile, in violation of the 1949 Jerusalem armistice agreements that were signed by King Hussein’s predecessor, his assassinated grandfather, King Abdullah, King Hussein proclaimed that no Jew would be allowed to enter, pray or reside in the old city of Jerusalem.
And another of King Hussein’s first edicts was to confine the Palestinian Arab refugee population who had fled to Jordan to the squalor of refugee camps, under the promise and premise of their “inalienable right of return” to their homes that no longer existed within Israel proper. That edict mitigated against absorbing Palestinian Arab refugees into his kingdom. They remain in “temporary” refugee camps to this day.
Meanwhile, King Hussein’s loss of the Old City of Jerusalem occurred as a direct result of Hussein’s artillery attacks on the Israeli-held western Jerusalem during the June,1967 war. The Israeli prime minister at the time, Levi Eshkol, allowed King Hussein’s artillery attack to go on for more than seven hours while he dispatched emergency communications through Israel’s foreign minister, Abba Eban, who communicated to King Hussein via the US state department that Israel wanted no war with Jordan. Israel only launched an attack on King Hussein’s Arab Legion when king Hussein refused to heed Israeli and American pleas to cease fire on western Jerusalem.
It was after the 1967 war that Israeli military intelligence revealed that captured documents from the Jordanian High Military command showed a Jordanian master plan to conquer the rest of Jerusalem from Israel and to slaughter all of its Jewish civilian inhabitants.
King Hussein’s eventual pragmatic approach to Israel did indeed bring the King to come to terms with the existance of the Jewish state and even to warn Eshkol’s successor, Golda Meir of an impending surprise attack by Syria and Egypt in 1973.
Yet King Hussein did allow the airpspace of his nation to be used by Iraqi scud missiles to land on Tel Aviv and Haifa, throughout January and February of 1991.
What has gone virtually unreported in the western media has been the anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli sentiment that has been festering in Jordan for the past five years, even after the historic 1994 peace treaty that was initialled between Jordan and Israel.
Journalists whom I have met with following their visits to Jordan have complained that their editors and producers simply did not want to run stories that would contradict the one bright light of hope in the middle east peace process.
Today, a new Jordanian King Abdullah with close ties to the Palestinian Authority will most likely continue his father’s policy of confining the majority of Jordan’s population, who are indeed Palestinian refugees, to the confines of Palestinian refugee camps… under the premise and promise of the “right of return”, where Jordanian and UN administrators of these Palestinian Arab refugee camps prepare a new generation of Palestinian Arab refugees for a war of liberation against the Jewish state.