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Jordan in 'diplomatic battle' with Israel: Crown Prince Hussein

Prince Hussein says Jordan in 'diplomatic battle' with Israel, questions benefits of normalisation
4 min read
27 May, 2024
The Jordanian royal made scathing remarks against Israel in a rare television interview, as he questioned why the world was still unable to stop the Gaza war.
Prince Hussein said peace was unachievable as long as the Palestinian people were not granted their rights [Getty/file photo]

Jordanian Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah said Sunday that his country was in a "diplomatic and political battle" with Israel, as he cast doubt on normalisation and peace agreements between Arab states and Israel.

In a rare television interview on Saudi-owned Al Arabiya, the young royal criticised countries around the world for not doing enough to end the war on Gaza.

"We are shocked by the world’s inability to stop the massacre in Gaza. The peoples of the region have lost confidence in the international community," he said.

"More than 35,000 people have been killed – 70 percent of them women and children. What [death] toll must we reach for the world to act? These are people's lives, not just numbers," he continued.

Prince Hussein said that since the start of the Gaza war, Jordan has been waging a "diplomatic and political battle" where it is working to shift the positions of countries towards Israel.

Jordan and Israel have shared diplomatic, political, and economic ties since 1994, but bilateral relations have quickly deteriorated since the start of the war in October last year.

Last month, thousands of people gathered every night for weeks in Amman demanding that Jordan sever ties with Israel.

"The Palestinian cause is our cause, and despite the political or economic costs that Jordan is paying, it will continue in its role towards the Palestinian people," the crown prince said.

Normalisation for no peace?

Prince Hussein slammed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for "trying to drag the region into war", noting not only Israel's brutal war on Gaza but also its attacks in the occupied West Bank.

The Israeli air and ground offensive has killed over 36,000 people in the Gaza Strip since October 7, and Israeli forces have also stepped up deadly raids in the West Bank, killing over 500 people since then.

The war on Gaza was sparked by a Hamas-led attack in southern Israel which resulted in the deaths of around 1,170 Israelis. The Palestinian group also took around 250 hostages, some of whom have been released.

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Hamas says the attack came in response to decades of Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people and occupation of their lands.

"The Israeli government is trying to promote to the whole world that the conflict began on October 7," said Prince Hussein.

"Let us go back to before October 7, and to all the speeches of His Majesty the King (King Abdullah II of Jordan) in the past 25 years, and how he warned that continuing to violate the rights of the Palestinian people would lead to disaster in the region. Look at what’s happening today," the crown prince told Al Arabiya.

"For years, there have been attempts to marginalise the [Palestinian] issue, and people have lost confidence in the peace process," he added.

There has been Arab consensus, since the Arab Peace Initiative, that the only solution to end the conflict is to grant the Palestinians their rights and end the occupation in exchange for relations with Israel, Prince Hussein said.

"Since 2002 to date, do you think that Israel wants peace? We are dealing with a government controlled by an extremist agenda, with ministers who openly call for the annihilation of the Palestinians," said the Jordanian royal.

He also referred to the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank as another indication that Israel was not serious about peace with the Palestinians.

The Arab Peace Initiative was launched by Saudi Arabia and endorsed during a 2002 Arab League summit in Beirut, then re-endorsed at two Arab League summits in 2007 and 2017. It offers Israel full peace in exchange for a full withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza.

As well as Jordan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco all share ties with Israel. Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, while the other states normalised ties in 2020, despite wide popular condemnation.

Sudan also agreed in January 2021 to normalise relations with Israel, but ties were never formalised. The process has stalled due to the conflict raging in Sudan since April last year.

"The important question for all of us today is to ask whether normalisation with Israel happened just for the sake of normalisation." Prince Hussein said.

"In the end, true peace is between peoples, and if the peoples are not convinced that the rights of the Palestinians have been met, they will not believe in peace [treaties] and will not accept [normalised] relations."