Is Jordan’s King doing enough to stop Israel?

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Is Jordan’s King doing enough to stop Israel?
By Ray Hanania

As a Palestinian but more as an Arab, I have to ask the question out loud. Is Jordan’s King Abdullah doing enough for the rights of Palestinians and the freedom of the Holy City of Jerusalem?

Though he seems a genuine and caring person, Jordan’s King Abdullah has mastered the Western art of political diplomacy, speaking a lot while saying little. He has taken after his father, the late King Hussein, who incredulously signed a “peace accord” with Israel that gave Israel everything and Jordanians nothing.

Today, Palestinians and Jordanians live together as near equals. King Abdullah of Jordan treats them both with respect, rarely distinguishing between the two, although the Palestinian population continues to increase so much so that it’s impossible to get a truly accurate breakdown of Jordan’s population demographics.

That’s where the irony comes in. If Jordan has such a close relationship to the Palestinians, and with such a large Palestinian population, why is Jordan so accommodating to Israel?

In a recent interview, Jordan’s King Abdullah told a French magazine that he remains cautiously optimistic about peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

How can you be cautiously optimistic when Israel refuses to freeze the building of settlements as a fundamental basis to restart peace talks? How can you compliment Israel’s extremist Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu when he personal directed the expansion of Jewish-only settlements to surround and isolate the Holy City of Jerusalem?

This failure of Arab leaders to confront Israel has undermined any chances of peace. Delaying the peace process costs Palestinians land, and undermines the “two-state solution” which is the only acceptable compromise to end the conflict.

Israel’s actions are eroding the chances for peace and King Abdullah won’t say it.

This failure of leaders in Egypt, Syria and Jordan to stand up to Israel is not only the cause of the continued conflict, but it directly feeds the instability that is fueling the growth of extremism in the Arab World.

Israel continues to thumb its nose at peace because it faces no pressure to make peace. Egypt and Syria are in domestic turmoil as a result of the Arab Spring, and Jordan is incapable of standing up to Israel because of a worthless peace treaty it signed with Israel that has not brought peace.

The Israelis remain committed to one goal, stealing ALL of the land of historic Palestine from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. And the one country that can do something about it, is not doing enough.

Israel continues to build settlements through the West Bank to 1) encircle Jerusalem just in case peace is imposed on them before they can grab all of the Palestinian land, and 2) create a presence in the West Bank so that it would be impossible for anything to exist there except fanatic Jewish settlers.

Anyone can see that Israel doesn’t really want peace. It wants the “illusion” of peace. It talks “peace” but its policies speak “war” and “conflict.”

You can’t say you are willing to compromise in order to achieve peace while you are slowly gobbling up all of the West Bank land. What’s the compromise? There is none.

Jordan is critical to preventing Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing of Christians and Muslims from Jerusalem. I’m not saying Jordan should declare war on Israel. Jordan is incapable of fighting a war.

But Jordan still can deny what Israel covets, acceptance. Deny Israel acceptance until it accepts the rights of Arabs and the creation of a Palestinian State.

The only option is for Jordan, and Egypt, too, to immediately suspend their diplomatic ties with Israel and put Israel’s non-peace government on notice.

The Arabs must find their courage, and not be intimidated by Israel’s military threats and weapons of mass destruction – Israel is the only nation in the Middle East violating international laws and manufacturing and arming nuclear weapons.

King Abdullah is in the perfect position to demand that Israel fulfill its obligations to peace, otherwise the peace accords are a shameful collar around the dignity of the Arab people.

Israel must freeze its settlement expansion unconditionally as a genuine gesture of peace, not just as a condition to resume peace talks but also as a condition to resume relations with Egypt and Jordan.

To do anything less would be an insult to the honor of the Arab people.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist. Reach him at

This post has already been read 135 times!

Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites and (Illinois News Network at

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post,, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

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