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Jordan proudly celebrates King Abdullah’s birthday

Jan 31,2021 - Last updated at Jan 31,2021

Jordanians are joyfully and proudly celebrating the 59th birthday of their beloved King this week. They are also commemorating the Kingdom’s 100th anniversary. His Majesty King Abdullah had ascended the throne following the departure of his great father the late King Hussein, just over twenty years ago… actually very difficult years, during which His Majesty rarely had a moment for a break. That is why the country managed, not just to retain its political stability despite turmoil all around, but also to accomplish great strides in political reform, economic development and general progress. 

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. The King, as the head of the Executive, exercises his authority through his ministers. What is unique in the Jordanian situation though is that the relationship between the people and their Kings has always transcended official frameworks into a family-like interaction, whereby the King attentively monitors every detail relating to peoples affairs and lives, whether from within the government apparatus, or by direct attention to individual cases; and he deals with them promptly. 

King Abdullah makes surprise visits to families in villages, remote dwellings, Palestinian refugee camps, or in poor areas. He sits with families and listens to their complaints. He visits the sick and the trouble stricken; he orders evacuation of motorists in neighbouring countries who get involved in serious car accidents; and he offers condolences and shares the grief of every family when they lose a beloved member of theirs. His Royal Highness Crown Prince Hussein and Her Majesty Queen Rania contribute to these humanitarian gestures too, as the demand for this kind of Royal attention and care keeps growing. Traditionally, the Royal Palace maintained regular programmes for helping all Jordanians with higher education, medical help, housing as well as direct aid particularly in crisis situations: severe weather conditions or otherwise. Most Jordanians, individual citizens, groups or community formulations view the King as the blessed saviour when in any kind of difficulty. 

The King monitors local media, takes immediate notice of expressed peoples’ concerns and grievances, and he acts promptly with the government to handle any such situations.

If so much has to be done at the domestic scene, regional and international tasks have always been strenuously challenging. Since his ascension to the throne, King Abdullah has been exiting one crisis straight into a new one. 

His principled positions, with respect to regional conflicts in particular, caused him headaches and unfriendly responses from friend and foe alike. He strongly opposed intervention in other countries affairs; he opposed the American-led war on Iraq in 2003 as well as all other regional wars; he insisted that the provisions of international law should be the basis for peaceful resolutions of conflicts; he opposed double standards and injustice anywhere and everywhere. As a result, Jordan faced pressures, but despite the difficulties and the mounting challenges the King’s decision was never to bend. He continued to perform with dignity, patience, calm and amiability, but also with resilience. And he kept on conducting his diplomacy with full conformity to what he believed was right, not just for Jordan but for the region.

King Abdullah repeatedly warned that the failure of the international system to resolve the century-old Arab-Israeli conflict is mainly and primarily responsible for the continued instability in our region- now spreading much further in every direction. King Abdullah was on his way to the US when he was informed of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the New York World Trade Centre. His first response was that such a heinous crime could have been avoided if the Palestinian conflict was resolved.

It is obvious that the origins of wars, regional conflicts, desperation, radical trends, sectarianism, factional disputes, backwardness, institutional decay, savagery and terrorism in our region can be easily traced to one origin: the injustice that had been inflicted upon the Palestinian people and the aggressive policies Israel continues to pursue in the region since its creation. 

Israel missed dozens of opportunities to live in peace in a friendly environment had it curbed its unrestricted appetite for territorial greed; had it recognised the historic rights of the Palestinian people as defined by international law; had it ended its occupation of its neighbours territories and ceased its colonisation and ethnic cleansing schemes.

Kind Abdullah’s leadership has superbly been manifested during the last four years. While Jordan was under severe economic strains as a result of the influx of neighbouring countries refugees; rise of terrorist organisations’ threats; closure of borders as a result of spreading instability and regional wars; loss of regional trade and industrial stagnation; and rising unemployment at home, (in addition to the corona pandemic) — as all that was happening, the new administration of president Trump lent itself entirely to Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu ultra extremist plan to liquidate the Palestinian issue his way.

Netanyahu, with help form US supporters such as billionaire Sheldon Adelson (just passed away), Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, John Bolton, David Friedman (US ambassador to Israel), Jared Kushner and few others, convinced Trump of their way to end the Palestinian issue by ending UNRWA and cancelling the Arab refugee problem and the Right of Return, severing aid to the Palestinian Authority, closing the PLO office in Washington, recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and moving the US embassy there, allowing Israel to annex most of the West Bank including the settlements and all of the Syrian Golan Heights and forcing normalisation between Israel and the other Arab countries.

The plan, named “Deal of the Century” was put in a full detailed paper by the Netanyahu team, for Trump to sign and launch. After some postponements and delays Trump finally did sign the document in January 2020. 

King Abdullah’s rejection of the plan; in part and in full, what was implemented and what was about to, was categorical, uncompromising and forthright. His message was clear, insisting that the Palestinians rights to full self-determination, to a viable and a contiguous independent state within the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, should be guaranteed and fulfilled in accordance with international law. The King insisted that the Palestinian refugees should be allowed to return to their original homes and that the status of Jerusalem should never be altered, with particular emphasis on the Hashemite Custodianship on the Muslim and Christian Holy places in the city. 

This same position has just been reaffirmed in a detailed interview by King Abdullah with the Jordan Press Agency last Saturday on the occasion of his birthday. 

Unquestionably, the King’s courageous rejection of Trump decisions regarding the Palestinian conflict and his repeated warnings of the dangerous impact of such schemes on the long term interests of the region including on Israel, had encouraged massive rejections form many other world powers, from the UN, the EU, Jewish liberal organisations in the US, US congressmen, major media outlets, some Israeli personalities and many more. Most alarming was the fact that Trump signed decrees that completely ignored the existence of international law, including dozens of UN General Assembly and Security Council Resolutions that were passed with US approval, relating to the conflict. By doing so, he was setting a very dangerous precedent which the rest of the world could not tolerate. 

Although much damage has already been done, not only with respect to the situation in the Middle East and the Palestinian situation, but also regarding US standing in the world, there are promising signs that President Biden will redress some major issues including this region. It may still be too early to make realistic prediction. 

What looks most certain is that King Abdullah will play a very active and a very constructive role in the months ahead. The Jordanian leader is highly respected in the major US institutions, mainly the US Congress. He is listened to as a credible voice of wisdom and peace, with no hidden agendas. He is trusted and his political views are highly appreciated for being constructive and totally impartial.

The economic situation in Jordan is currently critical with the usual difficulties being compounded by the corona pandemic, which caused the country enormous losses. We passed the worst. With the King’s wise leadership we will pass this crisis too. King Abdullah steered the ship in much more troubled waters before to the shores of safety. He will again. Happy Birthday your Majesty. May God bless you and your beloved family with continued good health and prosperity.

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