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The early 1990s marked a watershed period in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Gulf Crisis redefined the balance of power in the Middle East, reshuffled inter-Arab relations and demonstrated once again the need to work toward a just and comprehensive regional peace. Moreover, the end of the Cold War allowed the Arab-Israeli conflict to be treated as a regional problem. This, combined with the international realization that Arab-Israeli peace is necessary for regional stability, provided the spark to re-ignite a hitherto dormant peace process. Sensing a “window of opportunity” following the liberation of Kuwait, the United States and the Russian Federation co-sponsored the Madrid Peace Conference in October, 1991.

In this address, delivered prior to the Madrid Peace Conference, His Majesty King Hussein recalls Jordan’s historic pursuit of a just and comprehensive peace, and the reasons for the country’s entrance into the Madrid peace negotiations. He exhorts Jordanians to confront the challenges of the struggle for peace with responsibility, courage, discipline and organization, realistic nationalism and a keen awareness of regional and global circumstances. King Hussein also agrees to extend an “umbrella” to the Palestinian negotiating team, under which they can attend the conference through a joint Jordanian/Palestinian delegation. This “umbrella” allowed Palestinians to negotiate directly with Israelis for the first time.


Address to the Jordanian National Congress



October 12, 1991


(Translated from the original Arabic)


In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Brothers and Sisters,

Members of the Jordanian National Congress,

Fellow Citizens,

I greet you warmly and through you all I greet my dear people. I address you and all Jordanian citizens irrespective of your roots and political affiliations. I address you as members of one family sharing the same destiny.

You are probably wondering why we are meeting in this manner at this particular time. Simply and honestly, it is my duty as a leader to engage you in a frank and open discussion to ascertain current realities and their ramifications, to predict possible consequences and to seek a consensus amongst us. This should unite us toward a common and meaningful objective, for what is at stake is the destiny of our country and the security and future of our nation.

Modern Jordan was founded to protect this land and its people. Throughout the years the region has witnessed certain developments which placed Jordan on the longest borders and in a sacred position, making it the avant-garde of its Arab nation. Recently, events have accelerated in a manner that have overtaken our national agenda which was based on formulating a national charter, and which has been accomplished. The next phase was to translate the principles of this national charter into reality and in the form of political pluralism and political parties, whose pan-Arab and universal outlook emanate from the Jordanian homeland and its message, functioning in conformity with the provisions of the constitution and the principles of the national charter. Pursuant to that, general parliamentary elections based on political pluralism were to be held.

Where it not for those events which took us by surprise, we would have carried out our national agenda as scheduled, and there would have been no need to hold this meeting to brief, through you, our people about an issue that will constitute, as I expect, a watershed between uncertainty and clarity of vision, between evading responsibility and shouldering it, and between burying one's head in the sand and standing up to reality by confronting challenges with courage, determination and faith.

Thus, I believe it is my duty to speak to you at this critical juncture and at a decisive turning point upon which our whole existence, progress and regional and international relations depend.

That turning point is the peace conference on the Middle East and the fruits it might yield should it succeed, in the form of a new reality that would put an end to the state of fragmentation, uncertainty and waste of time, and usher in a new era of hope, relief and progress. This is the true meaning of a just and lasting peace which we have been striving for and will continue to strive to achieve. I believe it does not surprise you that I speak about peace, or about our earnest efforts to attain peace, to preach its preeminence within our hopes, to emphasize its importance for us to continue our progress and pursue our march as a state. Peace is essential to us in leading a normal life, which is the legitimate right of every individual, in order to dream, plan for oneself, and for the future of one's family, to raise one's standard of living away from fear, worry and confusion. It is also the legitimate right of each nation in order to develop and progress free from threat, thus preventing the exhaustion of the country's capabilities and resources. We have been discussing the peace issue for a long time. We have made it a symbol for a better life for future generations. In the light of the developments of the Palestinian problem with all the pain, complications and sacrifices that entailed to our steadfast homeland, peace has become a national objective that we have striven to attain, and a political strategic foundation upon which to proceed.

On this basis, we have played a central role at both the Arab and international levels. For over a quarter of a century we were amongst the first to initiate efforts and contribute toward a resolution of the Palestinian problem and the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East.

Consequently we have, since 1967, responded positively to every peace initiative based on international legitimacy. We welcomed President Bush's speech to the United States Congress on the 6th of March in which he declared his determination to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and to resolve the Palestinian problem on the basis of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 and the principle of land for peace, as well as the restoration of the legitimate political rights of the Palestinian people and guaranteeing security to all countries of the region.

In fact, we have consistently reaffirmed, in every political statement, our adherence to a just and comprehensive peace and the need to implement United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 as the basis for any peaceful settlement of this conflict. Even when we and the whole world were preoccupied with the Gulf Crisis, the case of peace never escaped our attention. We expressed this through our insistence that the international community should deal with Israel's occupation of Arab land with the same measures with which it dealt with Iraq's occupation of Kuwait. We called earnestly for resolving both conflicts on the same basis of international legitimacy. As a result of many considerations and serious international changes, the time has now come when a serious attempt to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict and to establish peace is being made through the convening of a conference. What is our position? What are we to do?

One might ask: Why should we go to the peace conference while the Israeli leadership constantly insists that it will not give one inch of the occupied territories? The answer to this is: Our cause is not only between us and Israel but also between the world and Israel. It is between the supremacy of international law in strengthening world peace and the flouting of it. The whole world rejects what Israel's leadership is saying because it contravenes international legitimacy. Indeed, a relatively growing segment of Israelis are not too far from this world view. The Israeli leadership has in the past adopted this view regarding the settlements in the Sinai, when it kept insisting on not dismantling those settlements. However, the Israeli government then had to change its position as a result of the negotiations and international pressure it found itself under to reach peace with Egypt, which had adhered to the principle of international legitimacy.

Besides, let us assume that Israel will adopt a rigid position in the negotiations with the purpose of preserving the status quo to its advantage. This will make it clear to the world that Israel is the enemy of peace and stability in the region, contrary to what it has been claiming, because it is clear that the basis for resolving the conflict should be international legitimacy and the principle of land for peace. In this case, Israel will stand to lose more than us. In fact our losses will be far greater if we do not participate than if we do and fail in the negotiations. Because a just peace would touch every aspect of our lives, it necessitates our serious response to every serious attempt to achieve it. Hence, to make efforts trying to achieve it is a national duty. To run away from it is letting our nation down irrespective of any cosmetic justification.

Also, one might say: Since only a small patch of Jordanian territory is occupied by Israel what is in the conference for us?

The answer to this is: Since when can we separate Jordan's future from the reality and future of the Palestinian problem? And since when is diplomacy conducted without any consideration of geographic proximity and demographic links? Didn't our political history and our socio-economic conditions take shape as a consequence of the Palestinian problem and how it developed? Didn't Jordan receive three huge waves of displaced Palestinians until now? Didn't this cause an imbalance in the equation of resources and people, which in turn led to the current socio-economic hardships we now face? Nevertheless, Jordanians should be proud that had their country not been established on this land, nothing would have been left to discuss now. And that had it not been for their sacrifices and struggle throughout the course of the Palestinian problem there would not have been a West Bank left for us to retrieve for its rightful owners on the basis of Security Council resolutions; that had it not been for the unity of Jordan and the West Bank, that included Arab Jerusalem which we saved in 1948, we would not have the cause of Jerusalem, especially since all other Arab states stood with the rest of the world in favor of the internationalization of the Holy City except for Pakistan, and Britain, which was bound to Jordan by a treaty. Jordanians, irrespective of their roots, should be proud that, together, they have withstood the consequences of the tragedy which fell upon Palestine and its people.

The answer is also: The conference is a peace conference. In other words, the retrieving of territory would be one and not all of its consequences. For there is also the issue of regional security and peace between the countries of the region, as well as the issues of the environment, water and economic development. These issues require cooperation and collective agreements. Jordan, which is at the center of the east Mediterranean region, cannot disassociate itself from the efforts aimed at resolving those issues and not be a part in the agreements that could be reached. These issues concern Jordan, its future and its regional role. I doubt that any of our people would expect us to be so naive as to choose to isolate ourselves, be forgotten and wither away. I am sure that you are aware that this particular phase of the world's history is one of interdependence between peoples and nations. Thus, we must be involved in the drive for peace because it concerns our present and future and has an impact on our continuity. Otherwise, the outcome, God forbid, will be fraught with ominous dangers.

Brothers and Sisters, Members of the Jordanian National Congress,

God said in His Holy Book:

"For the covenants of security and safeguard enjoyed by the Quraysh, their covenants covering journeys by winter and summer, let them adore the Lord of this House, who provides them with food against hunger, and with security against fear of danger."

An introspective reading of this divine Sura reveals that God in His wisdom has defined for any caretaker his responsibilities toward his followers, for all times and places, in two essential ways: that of providing them with food against hunger, and securing them against fear of danger. Certainly, the contemporary interpretation of preventing hunger cannot mean the opening of poorhouses or the distribution of free meals. Indeed, it means the creation of job opportunities through utilizing the state's resources, educating and training its citizens to participate in developing all sectors of society. As far as securing them against fear of danger is concerned, it also has many definitions, ranging from the respect and protection of human rights and freedoms, to ensuring material and social security for the individual citizen, and protecting the state's stability and security. This is the leadership's foremost responsibility. In all honesty, I tell you that it has become increasingly difficult to shoulder these responsibilities under the current conditions. Indeed, it has become a great challenge to do so, a challenge which is obvious to all those who are aware of Jordan's difficult financial, economic and social conditions. Jordan is practically under siege; Jordan has limited resources; Jordan has one of the highest population growth rates; in short, Jordan has both unemployment and hunger.

On the other hand, Jordan is a country whose people have pride and dignity and are imbued with perseverance, determination and loyalty. Our participation in the peace conference is not, therefore, aimed at achieving peace in its narrow sense or at any price. We will participate out of a sense of duty to ensure, in the first place, security and prosperity for our people, and out of determination to adhere to international legitimacy. We will participate to restore our rights, honoring our loyalty to our Jerusalem and our commitment to stand beside the Palestinian people and to help them put an end to their tragedy by regaining their sovereignty on their soil; to support them to obtain their legitimate rights so that they can live like other people, secure in their homeland seeking their prosperity.

Peace which results from negotiations is permanent because it is the outcome of mutual understanding and accommodation between the parties to the conflict, but without sacrificing rights or deviating from the principle of international legitimacy. For peace to be permanent it must be balanced and not governed by a disparity between the materially strong and weak. It must be founded on the basis of right and justice and the common good of those who conclude it. This will, therefore, insure that future generations will reap its benefits and will protect it. Hence, the principle of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war stipulated in the Charter of the United Nations cannot be forfeited or ignored. It is the genesis of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 which applies to Arab Jerusalem as well as the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights. This resolution means the complete withdrawal of all Israeli forces from the Arab occupied territories including Arab Jerusalem, exactly as was understood in the Egyptian peace treaty when Israel withdrew from the Sinai, which it occupied as a result of the same war. This also means that the settlements are illegal and that to continue with this policy is rendering the principle of land for peace void of its content. This policy would then constitute an obstacle to the peace process which must be removed.

Brothers and Sisters,

Today we face the challenge of a just peace. It is a serious challenge which puts us at a crossroads where illusions conflict with the truth; fantasy with reality; complacency with the urge to act; the proclivity to accuse, outbid and slander with the spirit of responsibility; discouragement with encouragement; selfishness with altruism, and comfort in the familiar with exploring the horizon of the unfamiliar.

Nevertheless, as night follows day, I am confident that our people, and each and every one of you, are capable of defeating all the elements of negativism, illusion and frustrations. This can only be accomplished by:

First: A sharpened sense of responsibility at all levels. My address to you today is but an expression of this sense of responsibility toward each and every one of you and our people, be they in their cities, their villages or camps. It is my responsibility toward our country and its strength, its existence and future and my responsibility toward ensuring security and prosperity for its people. Comprehensive and just peace is the key to transforming our conditions toward a brighter future we all seek.

Undoubtedly, you share in this sense of responsibility irrespective of your positions and roots because this is an extension of your responsibilities toward yourselves, your children and families, your fellow citizens and our Palestinian brethren. It also relates to your concern to preserve a safe and prosperous homeland. I do not believe that our sense of national responsibility has ever been tested as it is now. This test lies in the degree of support we will give to our Jordanian negotiating team by standing behind it and with all our capabilities. I hereby announce that I personally, bound by the sense of duty incumbent upon me toward all of you, will employ all my energy to support our delegation in its noble national task. I am confident that our people, who have been frequently tested and have proved their worthiness and loyalty, will prove again that they are capable of withstanding this test by giving their full support to our delegation with pride and dignity.

Second: Courage. Peace demands no less courage than war. It is the courage to meet the adversary, his attitudes and argument, the courage to face hardships, the courage to bury senseless illusions, the courage to surmount impending obstacles, the courage to engage in a dialogue to tear down the walls of fear and suspicion. It is the courage to face reality. I do not doubt that our Jordanian people who are familiar with hardships and who have been raised with moral and physical courage, armed with righteousness and faith, are well qualified and confident in their ability to meet the challenge of peace and to realize it so that all the children of Abraham will reap its fruits.

Third: Discipline and organization. The challenge we face is enormous and complicated. It may last for many years to come. Thus, we should not expect speedy results and an already made solution. The process of peace will be difficult and tedious. This necessitates that we should mobilize all of our national energies and provide the right atmosphere, in a manner that helps us to meet this challenge and ensure our success. Good organization requires that we select properly the working committees which will conduct the negotiations in a manner that will facilitate the achievement of our objectives of a just peace. Discipline also demands, besides providing the proper conditions, the enlistment of all, in solidarity and awareness to stand behind and support the effort of our Government in its national undertaking.

Foremost amongst the duties in this respect is the need for an efficient media characterized by reason, awareness and knowledge, as opposed to emotions and sensationalism, which could only lead to more illusion and further deterioration. There is no need for a media which repeats verbatim statements by the enemies of peace designed to provoke, discredit and instill despair in the viability of the efforts to achieve peace. What is required is a media which upholds the interests of the people and state, not a media interested in exploiting the feelings of people to harm and ruin their interests.

Fourth: Nationalism. By this, I mean genuine nationalism which begins with the full appreciation of the conditions of the state, its assets and liabilities, and not from fantasies or wishful thinking that cannot be exchanged anywhere. I also mean by it the initiation of ideas and decisions based on the interest of the country and, and not the pursuit and realization of selfish or parochial interests. I also mean by nationalism the ability to ascertain what is possible in order to achieve it and not miss it. Above all, can anyone pretend that he is more of a nationalist than those who cling to their land and its soil as is the case with our brethren, the Palestinians, in their occupied homeland? True nationalism does not give the right to some to deny it to others because no one can claim a monopoly on it. Nationalism does not mean that we can mislead, discredit or unjustly undermine the security institutions which must remain apolitical to enable them to be the shield for the country in facing any threat to the state. True nationalism should not exploit democracy to spread confusion or feed divisiveness. True nationalism aims at safeguarding the country, its people, its soil and its institutions.

Fifth: Awareness and knowledge. These constitute the basic premises of achieving peace. I have no doubt that we, who have experienced the Palestinian problem in all its dimensions, must be fully aware of all its developments and ramifications. We must also be aware of the effects of both the regional and global balance of powers, as well as the impact of the dramatic changes on it and world events.

However, it would be useful to survey the most significant facts, events and developments, the effects of which have led to the crossroads at which we stand today, as well as a number of important aspects concerning the foundation on which the Peace Conference will be convened.

As for the facts, events and developments:

First, let me remind you of a fact I previously made reference to, namely that no observer closely scrutinizing the graph line of the Palestinian issue can fail to notice its steady decline. To be sure, what could have been achieved out of any peace opportunity has always proved to be less than that offered by the previous one. This, indeed, has been the trend since the thirties, despite the justice of the issue. If there is any significance to this it can only mean that our grasp, as Arabs and Palestinians, of the regional and international situation at every peace opportunity has always fallen short of what was required. Indeed, we have failed to deal with the events within the framework of what is possible and reasonable and have, consequently, lost one opportunity after another. This led to a situation whereby 65% of the West Bank territories have been confiscated by Israel, and where the plight of the Palestinian people today is one best described as dispersion and uncertainty in the diaspora and increased suffering and hardship in the occupied territories.

Second, the present Israeli leadership feels itself to be the only beneficiary from the continuation of the status quo, i.e. the state of no war/no peace—a situation Israel is exploiting to bring about changes on the ground.

There are three facts that encourage Israel to cling to this status quo, facts which we are familiar with and concerned about on a daily basis:

1. The continuous flow of Soviet Jews into Israel by the tens of thousands.

2. The establishment of new settlements.

3. Raising funds from outside sources in order to absorb these immigrants.

Such facts, as plainly evident, are of a dynamic nature and not simply transient. Only a just peace based on international legitimacy can put an end to this ever growing evil leading to the seizure of territories and to the dispersion of the Palestinians by uprooting and expelling them.

Third, the collapse of communism and its alliance, and the consequent breakdown of the international balance of power, has led not only to the end of the cold war and a world order based essentially on bipolarity, but also to a peace-oriented world, nuclear disarmament, reduction in armed forces, elimination of weapons of mass destruction, the settlement of regional conflicts, and the protection of the world environment.

Regarding the effect of this state of affairs on the Middle East, the Soviet Union has shifted from the position of a rival to that of partner of the United States in the proposed peace process. This shift was effected by a shared concept of the two superpowers of a new world order succeeding the Cold War era. At the same time, the Soviet Union has ceased to be a source of threat to Western, and particularly American, interests in the region—a fact that has deprived Israel of its most significant asset, namely, being the United States’ strategic ally in confronting the Soviet Union.

Fourth, the collapse of the Arab order, the disequilibrium in the Middle East balance of power, the new alliances, and the elusive drifting toward the concerns of individual nation-states as a consequence of the Gulf crisis. This has left an immediate impact on the Arab outlook regarding the Palestinian issue, as well as on the security considerations of each Arab country.

Fifth, Jordanians and Palestinians are besieged and they are the parties directly and adversely affected by the continuation of the status quo of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Sixth, the increased American interest in post-Gulf War stability in the Middle East—a stability based on the settlement of conflicts and the treatment of their root causes, and not one merely based on the containment and management of crises, as has been the case until quite recently. This development, within the context of establishing and consolidating stability, emanated from two factors:

I. The end of the Cold War period and the beginning of a new phase in which all indications show that competition will essentially be economic and scientific, but not military, as was the case in the past.

II. The consequences of the Gulf War, and the emphasis it laid on the need to provide stability not only in the oil states, but in the neighboring ones too. The roots of the conflicts in these neighboring countries are diverse: some are political, some economic, others racial and sectarian. In any event, the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue is the most predominant.

All these events and developments, and the regional and international relations they have entailed, subsequently brought about one essential outcome, namely the renewal of efforts in an attempt to arrive at a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Hence the U.S./Soviet initiative to convene a Middle East peace conference. Thus, the Arabs and the rest of the world meet in their mutual desire and interests to find a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Before discussing this convergence, its elements and its potential, let me outline to you the development of the Arab stance vis--vis peace with Israel in terms of the sequence of events that commenced on November 1967, when two Arab states, of those that had engaged in war with Israel, accepted United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 calling for peace on the basis of the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war. The two states were Jordan and Egypt. Following the October 1973 War, United Nations Security Council Resolution 338 was adopted. One of the paragraphs of this resolution provided for measures pertaining to the implementation of Resolution 242—a provision that was accepted by Syria, thereby joining Jordan and Egypt. In 1979, Egypt concluded a peace treaty with Israel. At the Fez Summit Conference in 1982, Arab leaders, including the PLO, unanimously agreed to accept a peaceful settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and to resolve the Palestinian issue. In 1988, the 19th session of the Palestinian National Council declared a Palestinian peace initiative based on the existence of two states on the territories of Palestine—one Israeli and one Palestinian. The PLO accepted United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.

At this juncture, I would like to emphasize an important issue relating to Resolution 242. Deliberations preceding the adoption of the resolution were based on the principle of land for peace. Jordan participated in these deliberations with the superpowers, particularly the United States of America, as it also did in formulating the resolution based on that principle. Later on, the issue of redrawing the armistice lines was raised. Among the significant features of this issue was the manner in which these lines came to divide some villages, and even houses. We accepted the concept of effecting minor changes in the final borders on reciprocal bases, in order to reach a just solution to this problem.

The Arab states have unanimously called for peace and have accepted the settlement of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the Palestinian issue by peaceful means. The evolution of this position was gradual, beginning with the acceptance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 of 1967 by both Jordan and Egypt, and ending with the 1988 Palestinian peace initiative, which gained Arab and international support, and was followed by an official dialogue between the United States of America and the PLO in Tunisia.

During this period initiatives and international efforts for peace continued. Indeed, we are dealing nowadays with another peace initiative. We may ask what is new now? What is new now is that certain realities have emerged:

First: The seriousness of the present American administration in its efforts to reach a peaceful settlement. This was manifested in President Bush's address to Congress on March 6th; in the dictates of the interests of America and the industrialized countries in the Middle East; in the seven visits made by Secretary of State James Baker to the countries in the area within the last six months; in the contents of Mr. Baker's talks with the parties concerned and the letters of assurances received from him; and in the recent attitude taken by the American President regarding the loan guarantees requested by Israel for the purpose of absorbing Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union.

Second: The transformation of the relationship between the Soviet Union and the United States from one of antagonistic competition, where each was bent on foiling the other's peace endeavors, into that of cooperation and partnership to bring about peace.

These two facts have contributed to a convergence of views between the Arab side and the influential international parties for the resumption of a peace endeavor that is more serious than any other previous ones.

You are undoubtedly aware of the elements that constitute the framework of the peace conference, since the media has reported on the discussions between the United States Secretary of State with every party he visited in the region.

Nevertheless, I deem it useful to survey a number of important elements that compose the general framework of the peace conference.

First: peace negotiation will take place on two tracks. The first is Palestinian-Israeli. The second is Arab-Israeli, through bilateral committees. There will be a Syrian-Israeli Committee; a Lebanese-Israeli Committee; a Joint Jordanian/Palestinian-Israeli Committee.

I would like now to reaffirm the Jordanian position regarding Palestinian participation. Jordan, which had taken the disengagement decision in 1988, prefers Palestinian participation to take place on the basis of an Israeli-Palestinian committee, i.e. an independent Palestinian delegation to attend the conference. However, Jordan has no objection to providing an umbrella for the Palestinian delegation under which they can attend the conference through a joint Jordanian/Palestinian Delegation, if this would help in the convening of the conference, and if the Palestinian leadership accepts this procedure.

Second: Regional issues of common interest to all the countries in the region will be discussed in a third committee—a committee in which other countries, including those of the Gulf Cooperation Council, would participate. Among such regional issues are: resolving water and environmental problems, reductions of weapons of mass destruction, and effecting social and economic balance among the peoples of the area through joint development programs.

Third: United Nations Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338 shall form the basis on which the conference will convene and the basis on which negotiations will be conducted. The conference will convene under the auspices of the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and will include a representative of the Presidency of the European Community as well as a representative of the United Nations Secretary General. The United States and the Soviet Union will inform the United Nations Secretary General of the progress of the negotiations.

Fourth: Agreements arrived at by the negotiating parties shall eventually be registered at the United Nations.

Fifth: A Jordanian shall head the joint Jordanian/Palestinian Delegation, but the Jordanians shall negotiate the Jordanian dimension, while the Palestinians shall discuss the Palestinian dimension. The joint delegation will afford both Jordan and the Palestinians an opportunity to take the lead in addressing central issues of concern to them in the bilateral negotiations.

Sixth: The conference will provide all parties, including Jordan and the Palestinians, with an opportunity to make a full statement of their views.

Seventh: Any party at the conference has the right to raise any issue or subject it deems desirable and no other party shall have the right to object to any person attending or to anything said. Accordingly, any Arab or Palestinian position can be made known with all force and clarity without the slightest reservation.

Eighth: The Palestinian dimension shall be the only one discussed in two phases. The first is that of the terms of the transitional period; the second is that of agreement over the final status. There is a link between the two stages, represented by the commencement of negotiations on the second phase at the beginning of the third year of the implementation of the first phase. Final status negotiations shall include the subject of Arab Jerusalem, to which the provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242 apply, in the same way the said provisions apply to the occupied West Bank.

Ninth: A core principle is that the terms of reference agreed upon for the first stage of negotiation will not prejudice or prejudge the way issues are resolved in later stages.

Tenth: United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, as understood by the United States of America and the Soviet Union, and indeed the world, is applicable to all the Arab territories occupied in the war of 1967, including Arab Jerusalem. Resolution 242, as understood by those parties, is based on the principle of land for peace, and on the Israeli occupation of the Arab territories. The final status of Jerusalem, as far as the American position is concerned, will be determined by negotiations providing that Jerusalem will not be divided as it had been prior to the 1967 war.

Eleventh: The United States of America assured Jordan that it shall do its utmost that negotiations pertaining to the transitional period will be concluded in one year. This means that it is not improbable for us to witness, within one year from the commencement of negotiations, the beginning of the termination of Israeli occupation, thus enabling our Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza Strip to take up their responsibilities of self-government.

These are the principal features of the proposed Peace Conference. As it may be noticed, these features contain basic general principles such as adherence to the formula of land for peace, the application of Resolution 242 to all occupied Arab territories, including Jerusalem. These features also include details, particularly those concerning Palestinian participation.

As I mentioned, we welcomed this initiative from the beginning because it is based on international legitimacy. I received Secretary of State James Baker on every visit to Jordan. I contacted President Bush directly a few times. In every communication I conveyed to President Bush and his Secretary of State our position regarding the components of the initiative and our support for the peace, to be realized through acceptable negotiations and based on conventionally accepted international principles. As you know, all the concerned Arab parties agreed to participate in the proposed peace conference, including the PLO.

In this respect, we welcome the decision taken by the 20th session of the Palestinian National Council regarding the peace conference.

It was indeed a positive and responsible decision which embodied the degree of competence of our brethren, the representatives of the Palestinian people, in respect to their democratic practice, their deep appreciation and commitment to their cause, and their people who placed their trust in them. This has earned them the appreciation of many around the world. For they have reaffirmed their credibility by opening the doors for efforts to reach a just peace and to resolve their problem through peaceful means.

Brothers and Sisters,

We are at a crossroads made by national and global realities which touch every Jordanian here and every Palestinian in the occupied territories and in the diaspora.

These realities affect our present and future, and have a bearing on our national life and how to deal with the challenges, beginning with unemployment and leading to our national identity and our national security. These realities demand the historic decision of participating in the peace conference. This conference, if it succeeds, will enable us to transform these realities into positive forces that will take us from despair to hope; from confrontation and four decades of the suffering, anxiety and pain that accompanied it, and which left an imprint on our lives, to peace and its promise of security, stability, opportunities and prosperity for all; from the no war/no peace situation and the continuation of the status quo with its real dangers, to a condition of certainty and ease which will enhance the creativity and hopes of the younger generation.

Consequently, we in Jordan, while being fully aware of the real situation and the global and regional realities, and in light of the great sufferings of the Palestinians in the occupied territories and the oppressive policies that they have been subjected to, as well as the threat to their presence and existence on their soil as a result of immigration and settlements, and because of the direct effects this will have on Jordan, will therefore participate in the peace conference. We will participate in order to protect ourselves and to safeguard our country and our people, to enable us to lead a normal life, and in order to halt the depletion of our resources and energies. This will allow us to maintain support for the struggling Palestinian people who have endured more than what can be described.

In short, this is our decision which we make for the sake of a just peace which will renew hope in ourselves and put an end to the status quo which, if it is maintained, will continue to gnaw at us bit by bit until it is too late.

Let us awake and put an end to self-destruction in our minds and our beings. Let us put an end to the sweeping tendencies of outbidding each other and to illusions. Let us heed God, for our nation, our children, our present and our future. Let us shoulder our responsibilities and not seek escapism under the guise of leaving it to future generations. Let us remember that the majority of Jordanians and Palestinians cannot afford the luxury of betting on the unknown.

Let me disclose this to you. As you know, I am on the threshold of my autumn years of shouldering responsibility. I am now in the fortieth year on the throne and in the thirty-ninth year since I assumed my constitutional powers. Recently, a question has been weighing heavily on me: Should I give in to the call within me to rest, which I badly need, or should I continue to maintain the trust you have placed with me? I contemplated the question and thought of the difficult period our country is going through. I concluded that to think of doing so now is no more than an escape from duty. I then decided to continue to shoulder my responsibilities in spite of the hardships involved, in the hope that, with God's help, we pass through this difficult phase into a better one for you, my brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. I praise God, who is the only one I fear. I thank Him who has guided me to be amongst those who only seek His satisfaction, serving their nations and living with a clear conscience, so that the judgment of future generations will be for them, not against them.

Depending on God and His guidance, we beseech the Almighty to help us to shoulder this historic responsibility through which we seek His satisfaction and the well-being of our people and nation.

May God's peace and blessings be with you.

Address to the Jordanian National Congress


October 12, 1991