Three Inside Perspectives on Jordan’s Late Peacemaker King

October 16, 2020 | Robert Satloff, Hassan bin Talal, Efraim Halevy
About the author: Robert Satloff is the executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the author of several books on the Middle East, including Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands.

In 1962, King Hussein of Jordan, who ruled the country from 1952 until his death in 1999, established a secret radio channel with Israel; eleven years later, on the eve of the Yom Kippur War, he would try to warn Jerusalem of the impending Syrian attack. These early instances of outreach would pave the way to the treaty signed between his country and the Jewish state in 1994. David Makovsky discusses King Hussein’s life and his relations with Israel first with Robert Satloff, and then with Hussein’s grandson, Prince Hassan bin Talal, the brother of the current king. Next Makovsky speaks with Efraim Halevy, who throughout his long career at the Mossad—an organization he would lead from 1998 to 2002—played a key role in communications with the Jordanian monarch. Of particular interest are Halevy’s comments on the tensions between the two countries during the Persian Gulf War, when Hussein and then-Prime Minister Yitzḥak Shamir made Halevy their “trusted intermediary.” (Audio, 43 minutes.)

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