An uneasy peace for Hussein and Israel: As the treaty is prepared, bringing Arab and Jew together, the PLO stands aside, bitterly opposing Jordan's role in Jerusalem

King Hussein of Jordan and Yitzhak Rabin, Israel's Prime Minister, will make peace today in the absence of the Palestinians, over whom their countries have been in a state of war for 43 years.

The ceremony, in the dusty wadi of Araba between Jordan and Israel, will be replete with the stuff of televised history. In soaring temperatures and before the world's cameras, they will meet President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Warren Christopher, the Russian Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, and scores of Arab and European officials in a carpeted bedouin tent of black goat hair, to sign the treaty that the two leaders claim will usher in a new era of Middle East peace.

However, Yasser Arafat, whose own unofficial treaty with Israel is crumbling into violence on the other side of the Jordan river, has been pointedly left uninvited by both the King and the Israeli Prime Minister. In response Mr Arafat ordered his 'Foreign Minister', Farouk Kaddomi, to turn down a separate invitation to attend.

Jordan's own Islamic opposition, not cowed by the latest royal warning against 'propaganda of false views about the Jordanian-Israeli peace', will also boycott the special session of the Jordanian parliament, which Mr Clinton will address tonight. Objections that the King is making peace while the West Bank and East Jerusalem remain under Israeli military occupation have been made repeatedly in the Jordanian press.

Jordanian security men watched in silence as members of the Islamist-dominated students' council at the University of Jordan staged a demonstration against the treaty, one of them raising a banner declaring: 'The mountains of Jordan refuse to have a Zionist who is full of hatred and a traitor who has surrendered step on this land.' However, the university has 20,000 students and a pro-government rally was swiftly arranged.

Publicly, most Jordanians welcome the peace agreement, more as official recognition of a truce that has lasted since the 1967 war than as the start of a new page in history. They have been bombarded with economic reasons why they should be satisfied with the treaty. The Jordanian Prime Minister, Abdul Salam Majali, says a number of Jordan Valley projects will be set in motion, while Germany has just given the country DM45m ( pounds 18.4m) in soft loans for development projects. Canada has just given another dollars 4.4m in grants.

Privately, many Jordanians express resignation, in the face of what they regard as the inevitable result of the end of the Cold War. American support for Israel, they say, has given Israel through peace what she could not obtain by war. If this is untrue - Israel, after all, can no longer suggest that Jordan is Palestine - the treaty has also set the King and the PLO against each other again. Mr Arafat is bitterly denouncing the King's acceptance of Israel's assertion that Jordan had special rights over the Islamic holy places of Jerusalem.

A fascinating insight into the King's thinking, and an indication of his contempt for the PLO, came on Monday night, when he addressed army officers at their barracks near Amman. Dressed in military uniform with a paratrooper's badge on his chest, the King blamed the PLO for the war in Jordan in 1970 - in which his bedouin troops slaughtered many Palestinians - for 'the destruction of Lebanon' and for 'the situation in Palestine now'.

These remarks will enrage Mr Arafat and other Arab nationalists, who blame Israel for the catastrophe in Lebanon - Israel invaded the country in 1978 and 1982 at the cost of more than 19,000 lives - and who say that Israel's failure to withdraw from more occupied land has provoked the recent increase in violence against Israelis.

The King also said he would not have made peace now if Mr Arafat had not undertaken his own secret negotiations with the Israelis last year. The King was furious when Mr Arafat told him what he had done. 'We did not give up Palestine and the Arab right in this part of the great Arab homeland,' the King told his soldiers. 'But the party responsible for representing the Palestinians . . . moved and consequently we had to take care of ourselves and deal with the situation.' Jordan, the King said, was 'prompted to sign the agenda of negotiations' with Israel only after it learned of the secret Oslo accord.

Angrily, the King referred to an act of 'ingratitude' that greeted his personal financial gift, that paid for the renovation of the Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem. 'I do not know how many of you are aware that the piece of marble which carried the date of the third Hashemite reconstruction was damaged within 24 hours of its erection,' he said. 'It is still damaged now . . .' The implication was that PLO sympathisers had defaced this marble recognition of the King's generosity.

Today, the 5,500 Jordanian, Israeli and American guests will be asked to recognise the cost in lives that Middle East wars have exacted from the two former belligerents, in a minute's silence in the desert. Mr Clinton will then travel to the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, the fortress north of Aqaba, before travelling to Amman to address the parliament.

Tomorrow, he will fly to Damascus to meet the Syrian President, Hafez al-Assad. He demands a total Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights and Lebanon before signing a peace with Israel.

(Photograph omitted)

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing