Israel Table of Contents
Allenby Bridge across the Jordan River, a crossing point
into Jordan, with Israeli and Jordanian soldiers talking
Courtesy Les Vogel
Secret or "discreet" contacts between the leaders of the Yishuv and later of Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan or Jordan began in the early days of the British Mandate and continued into the late 1980s. These covert contacts were initiated with King Abdullah, the grandfather of King Hussein, Jordan's present ruler. Some observers have speculated that, together with Jordan's annexation of the West Bank in 1950, these contacts may have been responsible for Abdullah's assassination by a Palestinian gunman in East Jerusalem in July 1951. According to Israeli journalists Yossi Melman and Dan Raviv, Hussein renewed Jordan's ties with Israel in 1963. Following Jordan's ill-fated participation in the June 1967 War, secret meetings took place between Hussein and Israeli leaders in 1968, and they lasted until Begin's accession to power in 1977. This "secret" relationship was revived in 1984, following Labor's participation in the National Unity Government, and intensified in 1986-87. The participants reached agreements on Israeli-Jordanian cooperation on such issues as the role of pro-Jordanian Palestinian moderates in the peace process, setting up branches of Jordan's Cairo-Amman Bank in the West Bank, and generally increasing Amman's influence and involvement in the West Bank's financial, agricultural, education, and health affairs, thus blocking the PLO. The last reported meeting between Minister of Foreign Affairs Peres and King Hussein took place in London in November 1987, when the two leaders signed a "memorandum of understanding" on a peace plan. Upon his return to Israel, however, Peres was unable to win support for the agreement in the Israeli cabinet.
Data as of December 1988