In this address to a class of military graduates at Motah University, His Majesty King Hussein examines the ongoing peace process, the suffering of the Iraqi people and the need for responsible democracy in Jordan. He recounts that his grandfather King Abdullah, the founder of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan realized, with his penetrating foresight and political awareness . . . that this region has no option but peace, and then goes on to ask: Did the nation need half a century, and a number of catastrophic wars to realize what Abdullah bin al-Hussein realized then?
His Majesty reiterates Jordans continuing support for the Palestinian people and their sole legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and rejects any ambition to interfere in Palestinian affairs. In an important policy statement, King Hussein rules out as premature any talk about confederation between Jordan and the Palestinian territories, stating that this would not serve the interests of either side.
Address to Motah University
June 1, 1996
(Translated from the original Arabic)
In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful,
May God's peace and blessings be upon Muhammad, the Arab Hashemite Faithful Prophet, and upon all those of his house and his disciples.
My Dear Brother Graduates,
I greet you with an Arab, Hashemite greeting, full of pride in you, and of confidence and hope in the high quality of your future output, after you have drunk from the font of science and knowledge. In this distinguished educational establishment, you were provided with culture, experience, and academic military training, which qualify you to assume your responsibilities and duties as officers of our valorous armed forces, with the greatest distinction, ability, and efficiency.
I am happy on this blessed day to address to you, the ninth class of the military wing of Mo'tah University, my warmest congratulations, which I also address to your parents, and to our one Jordanian family, which rejoices in your graduation, and which prides itself on this new platoon of the guardians of the nationits soldiers who have dedicated themselves to defending their country's territory and its dignity, devoted to the tenets of the Arab Army, and to the legacy which it inherited from the army of the Great Arab Revolt. These are belief in the principles and noble message of this Revolt, and commitment to military honor and its ethics of courage, discipline, distinction, aptitude, and devotion to our cherished country. I am full of confidence that you will be up to these standards.
We celebrate your graduation as our beloved Jordan rejoices on the anniversary of its independence, that sublime anniversary when Jordanians recall their noble struggle and their national pridewhen there shines in their consciousness the image of my grandfather, the founder and the martyr, Abdullah Bin al-Hussein, as he led their struggle for the independence of this noble Arab bastion, and the creation of the modern Jordanian state, until he returned to his God, a martyr who fell in the sanctuary of al-Aqsa mosque, while he called for the freedom and progress of the whole Arab nation, and while he worked to bring peace and stability to the whole region. He realized, with his penetrating foresight and political awareness, rare qualities in his time, that this region has no option but peacethat wisdom dictates upon us to address the causes of conflict with realism, and awareness of its scope and long-term consequences. Did the nation need half a century, and a number of catastrophic wars to realise what Abdullah Bin al-Hussein realised then?
We pursued the path of peace with our Arab brothers, through a national consensus on this course. We were motivated by our deep faith in the right of all nations in this region to a free life, in peace and dignity; in their right to prepare a better future for the generations to come. By God's will, we have regained our rights complete and undiminished. We have given our Palestinian brothers all the help and assistance possible, in their long years of struggle, and in their quest for peace. We shall continue to support them, and to support their sole legitimate representative, the Palestine Liberation Organisation, until they gain their full political rights on their national soil. In doing all this, we have no ambition nor designs on their affairs. Nor do we seek by any means to interfere in their internal matters. As for the talk about defining a specific framework for the Jordanian-Palestinian future relationship, we have stated repeatedly that this is premature. To act in haste, by entering into the details of this distinctive relationship, would not serve the interests of either side.
The sort of peace in which we believe, and which we pursue, is comprehensive, just, and lasting. It would enable the peoples of the region to realize total development, to improve their standard of living in the framework of stability, and to live in security and dignity. This is the peace which the peoples make, and defend with conviction.
Based on this comprehensive and clear outlook, we assert the importance of remaining committed to the peace process. All sides must unite their efforts, so that it may achieve its objectives in all streams. This would embody the comprehensiveness of the solution, which would give continuity and permanence to peace.
We have, thank God, overcome the negative consequences which the Gulf War left on our relations with some of our Arab brothers. The cloud which darkened these relations has passed and will not return, now that our brothers have realized the purity of our intentions, and the nobility of our objectives, in every position that we adopt, in every cause that concerns our nation. We are part of this nation, and we are for this nation. We have never called but for unity and solidarity among all brothers. We have always called upon them to rise above conjunctural minor disputes, out of concern for the future of the nation, its potential, and the future of its generations to come.
As for brotherly Iraq, our motivation and objective is only to preserve its unity, cohesion, and sovereignty on all its national soil, and to end the suffering of the Iraqi people, regardless of the source of this suffering or its form. We have no design nor ambition in this. All we hope is for our cherished Iraq to overcome its plight, and to regain its rightful place in the Arab world, and for Iraqi citizen to enjoy his right to life in freedom and dignity.
My dear brother citizens,
This country, of immigrants and hosts, is based on the principles of equality in rights and duties, of tolerance, and of sacred national unity, which we hold in pride. It is one of the essential foundations of this country's strength and tenacity. True citizenship requires every member of our one Jordanian family to distance himself from any influence that may disturb it, or tarnish its purity in any way. I have stated repeatedly that anyone who seeks to undermine our national unity is my enemy until judgement day. Jordan is the nation of all Arabs. It is the refuge of all the free in this nation. True citizenship, I maintain, is to believe in this country, and to belong to it, despite all other considerations.
As for the process of democratization, which we have adopted as a way of life, we want it to be an example for others to follow, and a point of pride for this noble nation. We must be committed to its substance and spirit in every dispute, because freedom entails the responsibility to stop before the higher national good. Pluralism is respect for the opposite opinion, within the framework of the constitution, the laws, and true nationalism. Freedom of opinion and expression do not allow for offences against the authority of the state, and the symbols of the nation. The spirit of democracy and tolerance must not be exploited to slander the image of this country, nor to undermine its achievements, and its sacrifices. A vast chasm separates objective, constructive criticism, which emanates from concern for the higher national good, from attempts at slander and defamation. Pluralism does not permit any side to claim a monopoly on truth. No side may claim for itself the sole prerogative to confer the quality of good citizenship. None may claim to be more concerned for the national good than another. We have built this nation, like our fathers and grandfathers, through perseverance, endeavor, patience, and sacrifice. Our achievements, by the grace of God, and through the efforts of the sincere sons of this country, have surpassed all expectations. We have every right to be proud of our achievements, in disregard of the doubters, the pessimists, and the defeatists, who suffer from an inferiority complex, and from frustration.
We are fully aware of the obstacles and difficulties that stand in the way of this country's progress. They consist of the lack of resources, and modest means. Yet, at the same time, we realize that the Jordanian citizen who is educated, qualified, committed and diligent is our asset and our means of overcoming these difficulties. He is the tool of development, and his good is its objective. We are aware that sections of our society suffer from poverty and unemployment. But I have great faith in a promising future, which is surpassed only by my faith in the citizen of this country, and his ability to overcome all obstacles. I have entrusted my Government, in the letter of appointment, with the task of working diligently to release all energies, to exploit all resources, and to open all avenues before our process of development, on a scientific and objective basis. I have instructed it to remove all the barriers before this blessed process. The Government has been working with perseverance, confidence, and devotion, for the progress of our country, and to improve the standard of living of its citizens. Let us have patience, and faith in a bright future, which is near.
Once again I congratulate you and your families, and I address my thanks to all the personnel of Mo'tah University, its faculty, and its administration, for their excellent work in preparing you, and for providing our armed forcesthe Arab Armywith a succession of highly qualified graduates. Proceed, with God's blessings, to your posts, the posts of manhood, honor, and commitment. Through your efforts, and those of every member of our one Jordanian family, Jordan will always stay an oasis of freedom, democracy, and respect for human rights. It will stay dignified, and firm against all attack, or attempts to undermine it.
May God's peace and blessings be with you.
Address to Motah University