Letter: Loyalty to Hussein

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Sir: I, as a Jordanian of Palestinian origin, read with great interest Sarah Helm's article 'King Hussein back in favour as Yasser Arafat's star declines' (25 July). However, I disagree with her conclusion that the Jordanian option is a politically 'depressing' one.

Under King Hussein, Palestinians have enjoyed full and active political lives. Palestinians from the West Bank have even led radical political parties and risen to the highest public offices. The liberal Jordanian constitution, jointly legislated by democratically elected Jordanian and Palestinian deputies during the early Fifties, is a testimony to the Hashemite establishment's receptiveness to political change.

Many Jordanians of Palestinian origin believe King Hussein is still rightful king of the two banks of the Jordan. The unification that took place in 1950 was endorsed by a democratically elected Palestinian-Jordanian parliament. Given that the PLO's 'legitimacy' has never been democratically tested by universal Palestinian suffrage and that Yasser Arafat's credentials as 'leader of the Palestinian people' are still very much in doubt, there is a strong case that it is His Majesty King Hussein who truly commands the trust and complete loyalty of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians within and without Jordan.

Yours faithfully,


London, WC2

26 July