Abraham Bril
Abraham Bril

King Abdullah should include Israel in his prayer

Jordan is a country of little significance and is lead by a non-elected member of a minority community. In fact the Hashemite ruling family is not really from Jordan, but more from Syria or Iraq.

The country was created after WWI, with artificial borders and to be the Arab part of “Palestine” with the rest to become the Jewish Homeland. When the modern State of Israel was established in 1948, following the November 1947 UN partition plan, Jordan and other surrounding Arab States attacked Israel with the intention to destroy the new State. In 1949 the fighting stopped and armistice lines were drawn and became the non-official borders between Israel and Jordan. The latter occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem until 1967 when King Hussein joined Egypt and Syria to attack Israel, and lost.

In those 18 years, between 1949 and 1967, King Hussein did nothing to foster an Arab Palestinian State that the Jordanians now so vehemently seem to want. It can be questioned whether King Abdullah really wants an Arab Palestinian State so close to him. With at least 60 percent of Jordanians considering themselves Arab Palestinians, the pressures on his non-democratic minority government could increase even more. Jordan has few natural resources, has a weak economy and even with the rumored valor of their military, it is doubtful that the country can defend itself against any of its neighbors.

The country and its regime survive because of the implied American umbrella, and furthermore Israel, as well as the Sunni Gulf countries, prefer Jordan’s status quo to an Arab Palestinian revolution, giving King Abdullah another layer of perceived protection.

The Hashemite royal family is western educated. A few years ago, at the Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, I had an enjoyable lunch in with members of the family and their good education and kind demeanor were evident, as well their obvious wealth. That education and wealth became more of a concrete vision when I visited Jordan not so long ago. The country is poor and the vast majority of the population lacks good education and general welfare, but the King and his family live a golden life. However the King holds the country together with an iron fist.

King Abdullah should, every morning, say a prayer for America, Israel and the Gulf countries, but instead he keeps criticizing and insulting Israel, in the name of the West Bank Arab Palestinians that his Father ignored when he could have given them the self determination during so many years.

Just before Covid hit us, I had a private dinner with a member of US Congress, also a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. I asked why the US never tries to tone down the rhetoric of King Abdullah against Israel. The member of Congress replied that this is all at the surface for public consumption and that the security relationship between Israel and Jordan is iron clad. But I wonder what good it does when Jordan prevents Netanyahu’s plane from flying over the country.

On the other hand when I was in Jordan, I asked our tour guide what the general population in Jordan feels about the peace agreement with Israel. He replied that 90 % would vote against peace with Israel, and then after a brief pause he added “Thank G’d that we have a King”.

My conclusion is that real peace looks like what is happening with the UAE, where the population is encouraged to welcome Israelis with open arms. We may wish King Abdullah a long ruling life because the alternative would be far worse, but less arrogance towards Israel would suit him. As I said, he should pray for Israel every morning.

About the Author
Born in the Netherlands, graduated from the Universite de Geneve and the Graduate Institute of International Studies, also in Geneva. Fluent in Dutch, French, English and Spanish, with some knowledge of German, as well as a bit of Ivrit. Spent my working career working in finance in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Geneva, Panama, Mexico and Miami. I am now semi-retired.