Hussein vents his anger at Israel

The long paragraphs in the three-page letter from King Hussein of Jordan to Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister, almost vibrate with rage as he lists his grievances. He says: "My distress is genuine and deep over the accumulating tragic actions which you have initiated at the head of the government of Israel, making peace - the worthiest objective of my life - appear more and more like a distant elusive mirage."

In the course of the letter, sent on 9 March, King Hussein even wonders if Mr Netanyahu would have ordered Israeli warplanes to shoot him down last week if he had tried to pilot the plane flying Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, from Amman to Gaza. The Israelis had refused to allow the flight to enter Israeli airspace. King Hussein asks: "Would you have ordered my fellow pilots in the Israeli Air Force ... to prevent me forcibly from landing or worse?"

Publication of the text of the letter from the Arab ruler previously considered the most sympathetic to Mr Netanyahu comes as Israel faces increasing international isolation. The latest blow came when the US agreed to attend a meeting next Saturday in Gaza of European and Arab diplomats, summoned by Mr Arafat to discuss the impact of the Oslo accords on the Israeli decision to build a Jewish settlement at Har Homa, and make only a limited withdrawal on the West Bank.

Showing a consideration for the Palestinian leader's feelings not often shown by US officials in the past, Nicholas Burns, the US State Department spokesman, said: "Chairman Arafat obviously feels the need to talk to friendly countries around the world, and that's appropriate." Edward Abington, the US Consul in East Jerusalem, will attend the Gaza meeting, which was condemned by Israel. Martin Indyk, the American ambassador, denied yesterday there was any crisis in relations between the US and Israel.

The anger of King Hussein is in sharp contrast to the warming of relations between Israel and Jordan which culminated in the peace treaty between them signed in 1994. Even when Mr Netanyahu was elected last year, King Hussein appears to have thought that Jordan could act as a bridge between him and the Arab world. But when Mr Netanyahu refused his request "as a personal favour" to fly Mr Arafat back to Gaza, King Hussein slammed the phone down.

The Israeli leader, who has been visiting Russia, says in response to King Hussein that he is "baffled by the personal attacks against me". He says: "Despite tremendous resistance from some of my own constituency, I have chosen the path of the Oslo process." But the Jordanian monarch makes clear that he no longer accepts this. He says: "I frankly cannot accept your repeated excuse of having to act the way you do under great duress and pressure." He accuses Mr Netanyahu of breaking a promise not to build more settlements.

In January, King Hussein was considered to have played a critical role in arranging an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians over the partial Israeli withdrawal from Hebron. He now asks why Israel was deliberately humiliating its Palestinian partners and why the present phase of withdrawal from the West Bank was so insignificant.

The peace treaty with Jordan was considered one of the main gains made by Israel as a result of the Oslo accords. He will visit President Bill Clinton in Washington this week and presumably feels the US is itself angry enough with Mr Netanyahu not to object the King's attack on him. He also calculates that his manifesto against the Israeli leader reflects the sentiments of the Arab world as a whole.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

£23000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's leading stem cell comp...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Administrator

£19000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ope...

Recruitment Genius: Trade Counter Sales Assistant

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Driver / Warehouse Operative

£19000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years
New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered: What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week

New Dr Seuss manuscript discovered

What Pet Should I Get? goes on sale this week
Oculus Rift and the lonely cartoon hedgehog who could become the first ever virtual reality movie star

The cartoon hedgehog leading the way into a whole new reality

Virtual reality is the 'next chapter' of entertainment. Tim Walker gives it a try
Ants have unique ability to switch between individual and collective action, says study

Secrets of ants' teamwork revealed

The insects have an almost unique ability to switch between individual and collective action
Donovan interview: The singer is releasing a greatest hits album to mark his 50th year in folk

Donovan marks his 50th year in folk

The singer tells Nick Duerden about receiving death threats, why the world is 'mentally ill', and how he can write a song about anything, from ecology to crumpets
Let's Race simulator: Ultra-realistic technology recreates thrill of the Formula One circuit

Simulator recreates thrill of F1 circuit

Rory Buckeridge gets behind the wheel and explains how it works