April 12, 2010
Abdullah in WonderlandBy Victor Sharpe
When Alice fell down the rabbit hole, encountering situations that defied logic and characters who acted in bizarre ways, she was fortunate not to meet Jordan's kinglet, Abdullah II. Kinglet is an apt description for this monarch, first coined by columnist Ruth King.
Jordan's king, a member of the Hashemite tribe, is named after Emir Abdullah, who was assassinated on July 20, 1951 after leaving Friday evening prayers at Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque. Abdullah was in favor of making peace with Israel but, like Egypt's Anwar Sadat, he was murdered by Islamic extremists for his moderation. The assassinated emir was accompanied at the mosque by his grandson, King Hussein, also the present Jordanian monarch's father. In a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal, King Abdullah II announced that at his forthcoming meeting with America's president, Barack Hussein Obama, he will ask the president to pile on yet more pressure upon embattled Israel over Arab territorial demands on Israel's capital, Jerusalem.
The kinglet stated in his WSJ interview that "Jerusalem specifically engages Jordan because we are the custodians of the Muslim and Christian holy places and this is a flashpoint that goes beyond Jordanian-Israel relations."
And here we descend the rabbit hole. Abdullah II chose to hide the unpleasant facts that under his father, King Hussein, not only did Jordan refuse to allow Jews access to their holy sites during Jordan's illegal occupation of East Jerusalem from 1949 to 1967 (including the Old City, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount), but it desecrated the ancient Jewish graves on the Mount of Olives, ran a road through the cemetery, used many of the gravestones as latrines for the Arab Legion, deliberately destroyed and desecrated scores of ancient synagogues throughout the Old City, and used the Tomb of Simon the Just as a stable. The Jewish inhabitants of the Old City and areas of east Jerusalem, meanwhile, had been driven from their homes and forced to flee to safety in West Jerusalem.
During the nineteen years of illegal Jordanian Arab occupation of the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem (an occupation recognized by only Pakistan and Britain), the United Nations not once protested against the rampant and systematic destruction of the ancient Jewish quarter. Only after the reunification of the city in 1967 and the removal by Israel of the Jordanian pillboxes, barbed wire, and sniper sites was the filth that had piled up over the years along the Via Delarosa (with Christian pilgrims being forced to wade through it) removed and the area cleansed. And only after reunification did the morally challenged United Nations begin its long and hypocritical series of anti-Israel resolutions over Jerusalem.
It is only since Israel was forced by Arab aggression to fight the June 1967 Six Day War and liberate Jerusalem from Jordanian occupation that all religions and faiths are treated with respect and provided free access to their holy places. On June 4, 1967, former Israeli Prime Minister Levi Eshkol pleaded with the late King Hussein, via the United Nations, not to follow the genocidal boastings of Egypt's President Nasser and attack the Jewish state. Eshkol stated that "[w]e shall not initiate any action whatsoever against Jordan. However, should Jordan open hostilities, we shall react with all our might and he (the King) will have to bear the full responsibility for all the consequences."
The impressionable king, succumbing to Nasser's boast of Egyptian forces already inside Israel, ordered his artillery to open fire along the entire border between west and east Jerusalem. The Egyptians and elements of the Arab Legion had penetrated the southernmost Jewish suburb of Jerusalem, Ramat Rahel, founded in 1926 upon the same site of a Jewish village from biblical times.
It is instructive to note that King Hussein visited East Jerusalem only once during Jordan's occupation and chose to keep Amman the capital of Jordan. Indeed, no Muslim holy place is today the capital city of an Arab and Muslim state. In Iran, the capital is Teheran; it is not Qum or Meshed. In Saudi Arabia, neither Mecca nor Medina is the capital city; it is Riyadh.
Only the Jews regard Jerusalem as both their spiritual and temporal capital city, and they have done so for three thousand years. For Christians, Jerusalem is a spiritual, not a temporal, site. Muslims, even while praying in their mosque on the Temple Mount, face Mecca with their backs to Jerusalem.
The Two State Solution, 87 years old, is an ideal explanation of the history of betrayal by Great Britain toward its obligation to create a Jewish National Home in geographical Palestine and how the entire territory east of the River Jordan (present-day Jordan) was torn away, leaving only the narrow sliver of land west of the Jordan River for the reconstituted Jewish state. This tiny piece of land, which includes the very biblical and ancestral heartland of the Jews, is now threatened by yet another Two State Solution, reducing Israel to only nine miles wide at its most populous region. The present Kingdom of Jordan, over which Abdullah II reigns, is the much larger territory east of the River Jordan stretching east to Iraq, south to Saudi Arabia, and north to Syria.
In 1994, Yasser Arafat's PLO demanded East Jerusalem as the capital city of a new Arab state. All Jews living in such a capital, it declared, will be driven out -- or worse. Sound familiar? This demand was first articulated only after the 1967 War and Jerusalem's reunification. Since then, it has become a staple of Palestinian Arab and all other Arab and Muslim rhetoric.
Now Abdullah II impudently claims that the Israeli Prime Minister's actions have brought their two nation's relations to a new low. Again the Alice in Wonderland syndrome is clear for all to see. For Netanyahu has made yet more concessions to bring about peace in the region by agreeing to a freeze on housing for Jews throughout Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). No concessions have been demanded of the Palestinian Arabs, who continue terrorism against Israeli civilians and indoctrinate their children with vile anti-Jewish hatred -- all banned under the Oslo Peace Accords. The Jordanian king even stretches credulity by claiming that Jordanian officials call their relations with Israel a cold peace. He went on to say, "People to people exchanges between our two countries are virtually non-existent and cross border business has largely dried up."
Though Jordan has resisted the Palestinians' attempt to undermine the peace treaty obligations made earlier between Jordan and Israel in 1994, it has nevertheless been Jordan that is the cause of the cold peace with the Jewish state. Animosity toward Israel and the lack of peaceful interchange between the two peoples has been led by Jordan's professional and intellectual organizations. These have included journalists, doctors, dentists, business leaders, artists, and musicians. These groups have opposed all and every form of normalization with Israel.
Any Jordanian Arab who reaches out to Israelis is immediately threatened and blacklisted. It is ironic that Jordan's kinglet allows such a situation to exist while choosing to falsely blame Israel. Could it be that he is afraid of alienating these organizations for fear that the Hashemite control over his kingdom would falter? After all, Jordan's population is three-fourths Palestinian, and the kinglet's greatest fear is a Palestinian Arab coup.
In September 1970, the kinglet's father, King Hussein, fought off a PLO coup d'état led by the arch terrorist, Yasser Arafat, who had created a state within a state inside Jordan. Hussein's Arab Legion killed thousands of PLO terrorists, along with their families, and many fled to Israel for safety -- the very same terrorists who had been conducting grisly cross-border raids into Israel. Since then, Israel has several times warned Jordan of attempts to destroy it from the neighboring Syrian regime in Damascus, which considers Jordan as part of southern Syria. Indeed, Israel even intervened once to forestall an imminent Syrian invasion.
In his meeting with President Barack Hussein Obama, the kinglet will take the predictable anti-Israeli line in order to keep his Arab credentials intact and his Hashemite minority from being overthrown. The kinglet's throne is an uneasy one at best. But what better way to deflect his subjects' growing Islamic radicalization than to heap blame upon Israel for every problem in the Middle East? And this while secretly relying upon Israel to protect his throne.
According to an earlier Pew Global Attitude Project finding,
Jordan's King Abdullah II dares not buck the growing Arab, Muslim, and worldwide pressure piling on Israel, vastly encouraged as it is by the mendacious and unprincipled anti-Israel bias emanating from the White House and State Department. He will no doubt echo the tired old mantra that solving the Israel-Palestinian conflict will miraculously solve all world problems and usher in "peace in our time."
It is no surprise, therefore, that the kinglet and the American president will have a great time together at their upcoming Mad Hatter's Tea Party. And no doubt U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Middle East envoy George Mitchell, and American General James Jones will all join together in the "let's bash Israel" festivity while the malevolent Cheshire cat, Ahmadinejad, looks on with an ever-widening grin.
Victor Sharpe is the author of Volumes One and Two of Politicide: The attempted murder of the Jewish state.