The passing of King Hussein of Jordan has unleashed a huge torrent
of praise and adulation. One could imagine that the King was gd
like, a man of few flaws and much good deeds. A man who sought
peace above all else. I have a contrarian view. One where his
vile and despicable deeds are interred with his bones and his
good is magnified beyond all recognition.
Hussein ruled east Jerusalem between 195267. During that period
he oversaw the destruction of 56 synagogues and much of the Jewish
Quarter of the city. He failed to honor the 1949 Armistice and
allow Jews pray at the Wall, their Holy Site. He desecrated the
graves of pious Jews buried on the Mount of Olives, making latrines
of their tombstones for his army.
In later years he hosted terrorists dedicated to destroying Israel.
When they threatened his rule, he simply massacred 20,000 of them.
He had common interests with Israel and there was frequent cooperation.
It all served his interest and was not done out of grace and love
for the Jews.
Hussein was a great survivor, which he managed by playing off
various conflicting interests. During the Gulf War he sided with
Iraq despite its obvious intention to destroy Israel. He forbade
Israel from overflying his territory to retaliate against Saddam's
When he finally made peace with Israel it was only with massive
bribes: money from the US and 100 million cubic meters of scarce
water from Israel. In addition he demanded and got Israeli territory
in the Arava Valley. He generally supported Oslo for the same
reasons that Arafat supported it: It would diminish and weaken
Israel. this had been an Arab goal for 45 years. He did fear a
rising Palestinian State and hoped Olso would entangle Israel
and the Palestinians for many years, diverting the threat from
When two Mossad agents were caught trying to kill a leading Islamic
terrorist in Amman, he deliberately embarrassed Israel and insisted
on the release the head of the Hamas terrorist organization, Sheik
Yassin. We must remember that the Mossad had worked for decades
protecting the King from assassination and plots against the throne.
The media has focused on his "quest for peace" in the
Middle East. In all of his negotiations and discussions on the
subject, he never found the need to support the Israeli position.
He never asked Mubarak of Egypt to warm up the peace with Israel.
He never asked Arafat to stop terrorism and comply with his Oslo
obligations. When Clinton brought him to Wye, the purpose was
clear. It was to apply pressure on Israel to sign on the dotted
line. To accept another flawed agreement.
And so, I won't mourn for King Hussein. I find the media extravagance disgusting. And most of all I find the outpouring of praise from Israeli leaders to be opportunistic. Surely they must know the facts above. I can not offer redemption to King Hussein for any good he did during his latter life. He will be judged like all men by HaShem who will weigh the good that he did on a scale of justice with the bad.
............Bernard J. Shapiro, Editor