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Why Jordan’s Stability Is So Important

Remembering King Hussein, who died on this day in 1999

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King Hussein With Yitzhak Rabin.(Wikipedia)

In the aftermath of the first Gulf War, historical circumstances–namely Jordan’s isolation following its vocal support for Iraq–caused its king to remake himself and his country in the image of a (relatively) modern, (more) progressive state.

King Hussein, who died on this date in 1999, had a history of saying and doing some terrible things, but when he decided–in a fit of desperation–to normalize relations with Israel, he buoyed his pragmatic decision with a convert’s fanaticism.

The transformation was astonishing. Not since Anwar Sadat had an Arab leader thrown himself with such fervor into the cause of peace — real peace, not merely a frigid absence of hostilities. “I am determined,” the king said of the 1994 treaty normalizing relations between Israel and Jordan, “not to have … a peace between governments, but a peace between people.” It was a promise he kept.

An extraordinary moment occurred in March 1997, when Hussein visited the grieving families of seven Israeli girls shot dead by a deranged Jordanian soldier. He knelt before the mourners, tears in his eyes, words of comfort on his lips. It was an act of humanity and poignancy unprecedented in modern Middle East history.

The greatness of King Hussein was not that he devoted his life to peace. It was that he was able to rise above himself, to break through a mindset of violence and become an apostle of reconciliation. That is what the world has lost, and why Israelis lowered their flags to half-mast when their former enemy died last Sunday.

As fragile as Jordan seems today, it’s worth mentioning how important its stability is for the long-term health of Israel and the region.

A convert to peacemaking [Boston Globe]

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    Go away. Nobody clicks on your links and you’re only making us less interested in your stances because they’re being equated with your annoyingness.

    Cynthia Morris says:

    Linking to rabid, irrational anti-Israel websites and $2.50 will get you a ride on the NYC subway.

Poupic says:

If Chandler did not exist someone should invent “it.” Yes! Hussein was great! He gave what wasn’t his to give, Judea and Samaria aka “The West Bank” while he had already lost this land grab given to him by British operative Glubb Pasha aka John Glubb after his nasty siege of Jerusalem in 1948. What else did Hussein do beside his one time gesture? Answer nothing worth mentioning. Jordan and peace is like Egypt and peace, just a prolonged no war situation. Chandler get a day job! As a comedian you stink!


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Why Jordan’s Stability Is So Important

Remembering King Hussein, who died on this day in 1999

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