Arutz Sheva Israel National Radio -- Feb. 7, 1999 / Sh'vat 21, 5759
1. RECLAIMING INNER INDEPENDENCE
There is an old saying that it is easier to take a Jew out of
the Diaspora [Galut] than to take the Diaspora out of the Jew.
The truth of this adage becomes abundantly clear when one witnesses
the reactions of the Israeli media ever since the news broke this
past Friday that King Hussein was dying. Voice of Israel radio
decided to play sad, subdued, mourning music. Channel 2's Oshrat
Kotler looked as if she'd lost a close relative. "Independence"
is not only a political status it is also a state of mind. The
Jews of Israel still have a long way to go to attain inner "independence",
inner balance and selfassurance. Lost 1929 years ago, these qualities
cannot be retrieved in merely 50 years.
2. LEST WE FORGET
We all support the peace treaty with Jordan. There is also no
doubt that, among Arab rulers, Hussein most closely fit the definition
of a "good neighbor." And yet, we should never forget
the facts: It was Hussein that desecrated the Jewish cemetery
on the Mount of Olives, even using some of the tombstones for
Arab Legion latrines. With his consent, the socalled "West
Bank" served as a basis for terror attacks until 1967. One
need only recall the massacre on the bus in Ma'aleh Akrabim in
the Negev which claimed 11 victims; the 34 victims of Jordanian
terrorist attacks in 1954; and the frequent shootings from the
wall around the Old City of Jerusalem. In 1967, Hussein joined
the Egyptian attack on Israel. After the retreat of the Jordanian
army, Israeli soldiers found written orders from the King
instructing his men to kill everybody men, women and
children in Motza and Sha'alvim, two Jewish communities situated
between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
3. SPLIT PERSONALITY
After '67, Jordan once again began to serve as the basis for terrorist
infiltration, resulting in heavy Israeli casualties in Karame.
During what became known as Black September 1970, the benevolent,
smiling, welleducated King killed approximately 20,000 Palestinians.
(Subsequently, Israel gave asylum to over 100 terrorists who sought
refuge from the massacre.) Had a Jewish ruler done anything even
remotely similar, the Israeli left would never have forgiven him.
During the Gulf War of 1991, King Hussein conspired with Saddam
Hussein to partition Saudi Arabia, and to crown Hussein as King
of Hajaz. To this end, Hussein even began to grow a "fundamentalist
beard" which he later quietly and quickly shaved off.
All those years, behind the scenes, Hussein maintained good and
sometimes intimate relations with all Israeli governments from
both the left and right sides of the political spectrum. His explanation
for this "twofaced" game: his precarious position in
the Arab world. Hussein's Hashemite regime lacked legitimacy,
given the fact that Jordan was the creation of British imperialism.
Indeed, the King's grandfather, Abdullah, the founder of the Hashemite
dynasty, was placed on his throne by Britain.
4. A SHARED NIGHTMARE
Israel and Jordan cooperated closely economically, politically and militarily long before the signing of the formal IsraeliJordanian peace treaty. This relationship was not rooted in "love." There is no such thing between nations. It was a partnership based on mutual interests, clearly demonstrated in September 1970, when Israel moved its army to the Syrian border, forcing an armored Syrian column (which had already succeeded in penetrating Jordan) to withdraw.
It was Oslo that forced Jordan to sign a formal peace agreement
with Israel, because, despite Jordan's proPalestinian rhetoric,
the emerging "State of Palestine" is Jordan's real nightmare.
Jordan knows for sure that after taking Jerusalem,
Arafat's next move will be to get control of Amman. (Tel Aviv
will come only later!) King Hussein was always painfully aware
that 60 to 70% of his population was Palestinian; he was thus
careful to keep his Palestinians away from real political power,
especially in respect to Jordan's armed forces. "Greater
Palestine" extending from Gaza's Mediterranean shores up
to the Iraqi border to Teheran, would constitute a contiguous
sovereign, hostile Islamic land mass. This is the common nightmare
of both Israel and Jordan.
5. TWO INSURANCE POLICIES
Since the pernicious Oslo Accords, "Jordan is Palestine"
is no longer a slogan of Israel's political right. On the contrary:
Oslo made it a feasible goal for the Palestinians. Hence the caution
and the fear in Israeli political circles for the future and stability
of Jordan. Israel has two insurance policies in the face of this
danger. First: Jordan's Hashemite regime. Second: territory
the terrain of Judea and Samaria. The Judean desert and its mountains
are virtually unconquerable by an army attacking from the east.
In Samaria, the few passes leading from the east into the country
are controlled by a mountain range towering 800 meters above the
Jordan Valley. In a joint announcement, 100 American generals
and admirals described the region as "the only military margin"
Israel possesses to safeguard its very existence. Only from there,
say the experts, can an invading army be destroyed. Once up the
mountain plateau, a hostile foreign army faces obstacles on the
way to Tel Aviv.
From the Jordanian viewpoint, a Palestinian state sharing a common
border with Jordan would be tempted to infiltrate and destabilize
Jordan with the intention of annexing it to "Palestine."
Thus, both Israel and Jordan have a common interest in keeping
Israel on the mountain plateau of Samaria, in the Jordan Valley,
and on the Jordan River. Is it exaggerated to state that the second
insurance policythe territory, is the better one? After all,
what country would make its very existence dependent on the well
being of another state?
6. THE SETTLERS: A GIFT OF PROVIDENCE
Hussein's death is a classic illustration of how fragile and dangerous
is the total reliance on the stability of Jordan (a stability
that we hope will prevail under King Abdullah II). But Providence
has given Israel another leg to stand on: 200,000 Jewish settlers,
sitting on this very mountain plateau. If the Yesha settlers were
not there, they should have been invented. Providence also wanted
it so that the spearhead and backbone of this Jewish population
came there in search of tradition, religion and history, in the
footsteps of the Patriarchs. A spiritual magnet turned out to
serve as a material security belt for the Jewish coastal state.
The Israeli establishment's jitters in the wake of Hussein's death
should serve as the handwriting on the wall warning right and
left not to touch Israel's only true insurance policy: the territory
and the settlements of Judea and Samaria.
Former Techiya MK Elyakim Haetzni is an attorney living
in Kiryat Arba. Hehas a weekly spot on Arutz7, and writes a column
for Yediot Acharonot. ArutzSheva Educational
Radio is a project of BetEl Yeshiva Center Institutions.