King Abdullah’s childish tantrum of not letting Netanyahu fly over Jordan makes me reflect of what the King really should think of Israel. In fact, every morning he should pray for Israel realizing that without a strong Israel, he would have long been gone, in the best case back to England, where part of his origins are, or in the worst case follow the fate of Saddam Hussein.
His country is of little significance, has a weak economy and even with the rumored valor of his troops, Jordan could not defend itself against any of its neighbors, were it not for the implied umbrella of the US, Israel and the Gulf countries. That implied umbrella exists only because the alternative to the kingship would be far worse.
However, the King behaves with an arrogance that is based on nothing but self importance. In 1967 Moshe Dayan arranged for Jordan to be the guardian of the two Mosques on the Temple Mount and the King pretends to also be the guardian of the Arab Palestinian interests.
But that supposed guardianship of the Arab Palestinian cause is pure self interest as he sits on a time bomb of more than sixty percent of Jordanians, Arab Palestinians, getting fed up with being governed by an imported royal family who was imposed on them by the victors of WW1. King Abdullah does not care for the best interests of Arab Palestinians, similarly to his father, King Hussein, who for 18 years (1949-1967) had full control of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and could have granted Arab Palestinians full independence or some sort of self governance. It was only when he lost the control, after attacking Israel in June 1967 and losing, that suddenly King Hussein started to claim for an Arab Palestinian State in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The only motivation of the Hashemite royal family is self preservation, knowing well that in fact Jordan IS the Arab State in the original Palestine.
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. Not much later, I saw Queen Rania in full glamour in the Washington DC St Regis Hotel. 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 decent education and general welfare, while the King and his family live a golden life.
Just before Covid hit us, I had a private dinner with a member of US Congress, who is a member of the 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 the King’s public critical attitude towards Israel will only endure the popular hate for Israel among Jordanians, while what is needed is educating the people that Israel is a legitimate State (certainly not any less legitimate than the artificially created Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq after WW1), will not go anywhere and that Jordanians have much to gain to be friends with Israel
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 to remain in place 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.