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  You are in: Home > Middle East Studies > King Hussein and the Evolution of Jordan’s Perception of a Political Settlement with Israel, 1967–1988  

King Hussein and the Evolution of Jordan’s Perception of a Political Settlement with Israel, 1967–1988

Joseph Nevo

Joseph Nevo is a Professor at the Department of Middle East History and a senior fellow at the Center for Gulf Studies in the University of Haifa. He was a senior associate member at the Middle East Centre, in St Antony’s College, Oxford and a visiting scholar at Princeton University and at Meiji Gakuwin University (Tokyo). He has published extensively on the modern history of the Middle East, particularly on Jordan, on Saudi Arabia and on the Palestinians.


Throughout the decade that predated the 1967 war, Jordan’s declared views regarding Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict were not basically different from those of the Arab consensus. Namely, rejection of Israel’s legitimacy. In the wake of the war King Hussein was the first Arab leader to realize that in order to regain the recently lost territories, which he considered a most vital and urgent task, he (and the other heads of state) would have to offer Israel a meaningful quid pro quo. Hence the shift in Jordan's policy was twofold: (1) A change of the traditional statements that had been made by the King and his officials prior to June 1967; and (2) a change in the views expressed by Jordanian spokespersons vis-à-vis the declarations of other Arab leaders.

This book follows the evolution of Jordan’s new perception through textual analysis of the public statements made by Jordan’s leaders between 1967 and 1988. Jordan’s demands from Israel and what its leader were willing to give in return are analysed, and the constant and changing components in Jordanian viewpoints identified. The major conclusion is that even though Jordan failed to obtain its declared goals, the contribution of King Hussein to the transformation of the conflict from military antagonism to seeking a politically-oriented solution, was invaluable.


Introduction: The Crystallization of Jordan’s Perception

1 The Special Relationship between King Abdullah and the
Zionist Movement
2 The Friendly Foe: Hussein and Israel prior to 1967
3 Adjusting to the New Reality: From June 1967 to Resolution 242
4 Political Activities and Initiatives, 1967–1988

Territorial Demands
5 Withdrawal from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the
Gaza Strip
6 The Question of Jerusalem
7 Settlements and Natural Resources
Conceptual Demands
8 Changing Israel’s Policy and Ideology: The Hashemite
9 The Palestinian Issue

10 A Military Option?
11 The Perception of a Comprehensive Peace
12 Frameworks for a Possible Agreement

Conclusion: The Change in King Hussein’s Political and
Ideological Thinking


“This is an immensely erudite book which makes an original and important contribution to the literature on the Arab–Israeli conflict in general and King Hussein’s role in this intricate issue in particular. I personally attribute great importance to what Arab leaders publicly say and declare, especially their speeches pertaining to the Arab–Israeli conflict. In line with Dr Nevo’s findings, my own research indicates that there was an overlap between King Hussein’s declarations on the conflict in close Arab forums and his overt ones. Professor Nevo gives a comprehensive and penetrating account of Hussein’s efforts to resolve this conflict. King Hussein and Jordan’s Perception of a Political Settlement with Israel, 1967–1988 is exceptionally well researched, and displays complete mastery of its sources. The book is an invaluable contribution and essential reading for students and researchers in the field.” Moshe Shemesh, Head of the Unit for Research and Documentation of the Relations of Israel with the Arab World since 1949

“Middle East expert Joseph Nevo succinctly and clearly tracks the development of Hussein’s thinking from 1967 to 1988, when Jordan finally relinquished any legal claims to Judea and Samaria in favour of the Palestinians. In a series of informative chapters, he outlines what Jordan wanted of Israel in terms of territorial and non-territorial concessions, as well as what Jordan was willing to concede to the Jewish state as part of the price of a comprehensive peace settlement.

Although Hussein’s efforts did not result in a comprehensive peace settlement between Israel and all of its Arab neighbours, Nevo notes, they did help to lay the groundwork for negotiations with the Jewish state, which later bore some fruit in the form of the 1979 Egypt–Israel peace treaty, the now defunct 1993 Palestinian–Israeli Oslo Accords and the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty. In other words, Nevo astutely observes, Hussein’s most important contribution to the Arab-Israeli peace process resided in his ability to make at least part of the Arab world adopt a more pragmatic attitude towards the Jewish state. This book is a must for those individuals interested in the evolution of the Jordanian–Israeli relationship from war to peace, as well as those individuals concerned with the broader Arab–Israeli peace process.” Israel Affairs


Publication Details

Hardback ISBN:
Page Extent / Format:
272 pp. / 229 x 152 mm
Release Date:
June 2006
  Illustrated:   No
Hardback Price:
£49.50 / $67.50

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