On January 26, 1998, His Majesty King Hussein addressed a group of more 200 representatives of the 1948 Palestinians, or Arab Israelis. The delegation included leaders of political parties (including Labor, Meretz, The Democratic Front for Equality and Progress, The Arab Democratic Party and The Islamic Movement), representatives of the Muslim, Christian and Druze communities, as well as independents, intellectuals, journalists and mayors of cities and villages in northern Galilee. Among the visiting 1948 Palestinians were the following members of the Israeli Knesset: Hashim Mahamid, Talab Sana, Abdul Malik Dahamsheh, Salih Tarif, Saleh Salim, Ahmad Saad, Azmi Bishara and Abdul Wahab Darawsheh. Palestinian President Yasser Arafats advisor for Israeli affairs Ahmad Tibi also attended the meeting. The delegation arrived at the invitation of King Hussein, and broke their Ramadan fast with him at a traditional Muslim iftar banquet.
Remarks to a Delegation of Visiting Arab Israeli Deputies
January 26, 1998
(From The Jordan Times)
Addressing the group, His Majesty said that peacemaking between Arabs and Israelis is passing through a very difficult stage, and warned that the alternative to peace is more killing and destruction, which will not spare anyone in the region.
It seems to me from what is happening now in Israel that there are people who try to turn the clock backward and to overcome all agreements (signed with Arabs), said His Majesty.
But at the same time, there should be a large group of people who are aware of the dangers that we are facing if this inclination continues. He who tries to frighten people from peace is not only an enemy of peace, but also an enemy of life, added the King.
Suppose that a certain group has managed to bring Israel back to the mentality of castles. Castles will never last forever. Or that some forces have succeeded in frightening Israel away from peace. What is the alternative? he asked.
From our point of view, the alternative is more killings, deaths, destruction and devastation, and I do not know what the outcome of this will be.
Our duty is to challenge these forces at this stage and belittle them. Nobody will hamper us from reaching our goal to achieve a just, comprehensive and honest peace. And we shall challenge all attempts by such forces that try to tamper with this issue, His Majesty added.
He whose sole desire is a temporary achievement will never realize his responsibility towards the present and future, whether he is an Arab or an Israeli, the King said.
King Hussein also warned that weapons of mass destruction, which are widely believed to be in Israels possession, will threaten peace, stability and progress in the region. Mass destruction weapons will not differentiate between a soldier and a civilian, between a human being and another, man or woman . . . is this the future we are yearning for? he asked.
His Majesty added that the land for peace formula is the only way to achieve a just peace, which would enable the Palestinians to establish their state with their capital in Jerusalem. He also emphasized that a comprehensive peace must include an Israeli pullout from the occupied Syrian and Lebanese territories.