Sao Paulo, Brazil
Your Majesty Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan
Amman - Jordan
I live in Brazil, a country far from your beautiful Jordan, which I have never visited. However, as a Jewish doctor with a deep interest in the tragic events of the Middle East, I was happy to read your column today on O Estado de Sao Paulo, one of the leading newspapers in Brazil.
In your touching article you tell us about dystopia, an imaginary place where people live in utmost disgrace and suffering. And you mention that Gaza is not just a dystopia but a reality in our days – perhaps the most tragic place on Earth at the present time. I could not agree more with Your Majesty. Any reasonable person in the world has been deeply touched by the scenes of human suffering seen on television in the last few days. And - as Your Majesty correctly points out - 1.8 million people live under siege, surrounded by enemies, seeing their houses and personal belongings destroyed in this senseless battle. According to Your Majesty, every inhabitant of Gaza just wants what we all want: a normal life, nothing more and nothing less! You ask for people to act and react, to help save the people of Gaza, to donate to the UNRWA.
Your Majesty cannot remember the following facts, since they happened a few days after you were born in August 1970 in Kuwait. At that time King Hussein of Jordan (may Allah bless His memory), who would become your father in law, started one of the bloodiest battles against the Palestinian people in what was to become known as the “Black September”. He was firmly decided not to allow the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), under the leadership of Yasser Arafat, to take over the government of Jordan or even the government of the Left Bank. And he was probably right, as this would have threatened the autonomy of the Hashemite Kingdom. Your father in law, with the loyal help of the Jordanian Armed Forces, killed thousands of Palestinian refugees at gunpoint. It was not a long war – it ended in July 1971, just days before Your first birthday party in Kuwait. But according to Yasser Arafat, close to 20,000 Palestinians were killed during the Black September. Other Palestinian organizations, such as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine of George Habash and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine of Nayef Hawatmeh, openly questioned the legitimacy of your father in law’s monarchy and were equally involved in the fight.
And you will ask – rightfully so – “How come there were Palestinian refugees in Jordan in 1970, since they had left Israel in 1948? Twenty two years later they were still “refugees?””. Yes, Your Majesty Queen Rania, King Hussein bin Talal, your father in law of blessed memory, always kept the displaced Palestinian in concentration camps, as did all other Arab countries of the time. Instead of absorbing them into the Jordanian society, they were kept under inhumane conditions in concentration camps to pressure Israel and the United Nations. Nobody wanted the Palestine “problem” solved. Oh, of course there were also the Jewish refugees from the Arab countries as well! Hundreds of thousands of Jews had to flee Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Algeria, Tunisia, Yemen and Morocco without anything, leaving behind all their belongings and properties… But Israel did not put them in camps. They were readily absorbed in the Israeli society and today, one or two generations later, they are lawyers, doctors, teachers, university professors in Israel. There is no more a “Jewish refugee” problem. This could have happened with the poor Palestinians had King Hussein in Jordan, Gamal Abdel Nasser in Egypt and Shukri al-Kwatli and Hafez al-Assad in Syria done the same.
So, Your Majesty, I thought you ought to know that your Jordan Kingdom has played a major role in creating the situation in Gaza, where the terrorists of Hamas fly out thousands of rockets over the Israeli civilians and then uses Palestinian children and women as shields – a monstrous war crime. Even the UNWRA schools, for which Your Majesty is raising funds, have been used as hideouts for bombs and rockets (Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary-General, said so. And I believe him).
But Your Majesty, as the Queen of Jordan, has the chance to contribute significantly to solve this most serious situation. Please tell your husband, King Abdullah II of Jordan (May Allah bless Him) to convince the Arab leaders to solve the Palestinian problem as soon as possible. They should absorb the Palestinians in their societies; they should recognize Israel as a state and make peace with it (religious sites? Israel would give everyone free and immediate access, I am sure; Compensation for lost property? This can be worked out easily, I am also sure); they should stop educating their children to hate the Jews; they should accept equality for women and for all minorities and religions. Easy! As simple as that!
So tonight, Queen Rania, when you ask the magic mirror “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the land is the fairest of all?” the mirror will reply “You, my Queen, are the fairest of all. Fair not only for the beauty that Allah sprinkled on You, but also for being fair to all parts”.
May Allah grant Your Majesty much health and happiness!
Sao Paulo, Brazil