MER - Washington - 10/5/97: With such a long-record of duplicity and collaboration when it comes to the Israelis, it's awfully hard to believe the head of the Hashemite Kingdom -- most especially when the subject has anything to do with Israel and the "Peace Process".
Instead of recalling his Ambassador to Israel after the attempted assassination of a leading Hamas official in Amman -- goodness even the Canadians recalled theirs -- King Hussein went right ahead with the planned in advance presentation of credentials from the new Israeli ambassador, Oded Eran, a few days ago. This is hardly the way to conduct ones affairs IF what the King has been saying in public is true.
In private the Jordanians are now complaining that the intense coverage and revelations in the Israeli press are making it more difficult for them then was expected; and so far the Israeli assassins have not been released. There is talk now of a large prisoner swap involving numerous Israeli-imprisoned Hamas people in order to better cover Hussein's tracks.
Meanwhile, contrary of course to Hussein's assertions, Israel's leading newspaper HA'ARETZ now again reports that indeed Hussein made a deal with the Israelis to let the Mossad assassins go and is just waiting for a political moment when he can do so.
Hussein denies this; but then, as we said, it's awfully hard to believe His Majesty King Hussein of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. And indeed one should not forget Hussein's long and personal association with the CIA (many dollars and much information has changed hands over the years), as well as his secret meetings with Israelis warning them of Arab war plans in 1973.
That's history of course. But this recent HA'ARETZ article, below, adds more fuel to today's fire as well. Incidentially, remember as well that the interview referred to was given to the London-based Arabic publication, Al-Hayatt, owned by the Saudi royal family.
Despite the anger of King Hussein of Jordan at the botched assassination attempt on senior Hamas official Khaled Mishal in Amman, Israeli government officials remain confident that King Hussein will stand by his brother's promise and release the two would-be assassins shortly. In an interview to be published Sunday with the London-based Al-Hayatt and obtained in advance by Reuters, Hussein calls the assassination attempt a "reckless act... carried out by a party with no faith in peace." But in the same breath, he surprisingly says Jordan does not know who the perpetrators are.
Despite eye-witness testimony, Hussein declared, there was "no material proof and nothing in our possession which could have any link with what happened to brother Khaled Mishal."
After the failed assassination attempt and the arrest of the assailants, Israel sought to affect damage control by dispatching a senior security official and a doctor with the drug that neutralized the poison used against Mishal.
In the Al-Hayatt interview, Hussein suggested that the dispatch of the doctor prevented a serious deterioration in relations between the two countries.
When asked pointedly if he intended to recall the Jordanian ambassador to Israel, Hussein said, "If we had not received a treatment for Khaled Mishal which, thank God, enabled us to bring him back to normal health, we would have taken many actions." He added, "Jordan is committed to peace, and committed to preventing its land from being used for attacks against others, or harming them in any form."
Sources say the Jordanians relayed to senior Israeli officials during talks in Amman last Sunday that they would release the detained suspects, but not immediately, so it would not look like a swap. Hussein was furious that at the attempted assassination took place on Jordanian soil. It was believed that, following the peace treaty with Jordan in 1994, Yitzhak Rabin forbade Mossad operations in Jordan.
[HAARETZ - 10/5 - translated from Hebrew]
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