Hussein Says He Does Not Want to Control Commandos, Will Not Renounce West Bank

King Hussein of Jordan said in an interview published in the London Times today that he has no wish to control Palestinian commandos active against Israel from Jordanian soil. He said that he never offered to renounce his claim to the West Bank, that he hoped for a “more balanced” American policy toward the Middle East from the Nixon Administration, and that he believed the full weight of the two super-powers–United States and Soviet Russia–has yet to make itself felt in the Middle East conflict.

King Hussein dismissed as “Israeli propaganda” reports that he was the “prisoner” of Palestinian commando groups and that he did not have the power to suppress them. The real truth, he said, “Is that I do not want to control or suppress them. They are the fighting arm of the Palestinian people, who are, and have been for 20 years, the main sufferers in the Arab-Israeli conflict….They have organized themselves to fight for their homelands, as they have every right to do.” He claimed that reports that he was prepared to relinquish the West Bank to some sort of Palestinian Arab “entity.” was an Israeli “diversion.” He said he could never renounce the West Bank because “the Palestinians do not want it, the Arabs do not want it. What I am ready to do, once the West Bank is restored to Jordan, is to ensure that a greater measure of decentralization is granted to the Palestinians there.” King Hussein thought that world opinion was beginning to change in favor of the Arabs. “Israel once commanded wide sympathy as the underdog but now she has become an over dog and has lost a great deal of it.” he said.

(Israeli forces killed two saboteurs and possibly four in two separate clashes in the Golan Heights and Beisan Valley regions Friday night. Arms, ammunition and explosives was seized in both encounters. The first clash occurred when an Israeli patrol surprised a group of saboteurs in the northern Golan Heights near Banias, killing one. Another was killed in a clash near Gesher in the Beisan area near the Jordan River where signs indicated two others may have been killed. Bazooka shells, explosives, Russian-made Kalatchnikoff rifles and land mines were found. The Israelis suffered no casualties.

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