JERUSALEM (Dec. 8)
Yitzhak Shamir met with Jordan’s King Hussein shortly before the Persian Gulf War, an aide to the former Israeli prime minister has now confirmed.
The 1991 meeting between the Likud prime minister and the Jordanian monarch, long rumored in political circles, was confirmed by Yosef Ben-Aharon at a recent symposium.
Rumors current at the time said the right-wing premier and the Jordanian monarch agreed, in effect, that the Hashemite kingdom could publicly support Iraq, provided it stopped short of granting Baghdad practical aid.
Ben-Aharon, director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office under Shamir and before that director-general of the Foreign Ministry, confirmed an account of the meeting given by Moshe Zak, a former senior editor at the Israeli daily Ma’ariv.
The two men took part in a seminar at Hebrew University’s Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace.
Zak, who is now working on his doctorate on Israeli-Jordanian relations, said Shamir and the king met several times over the years. Some of their meetings, he said, took place in Europe and some along the Israeli-Jordanian border.
One encounter, according to Zak, occurred shortly before the Madrid peace conference in late October 1991.
Abba Eban, in a book just published in the United States, confirmed publicly for the first time that he, as foreign minister, met with Hussein, as did other Israeli leaders, including Golda Meir, Moshe Dayan, Yigal Allon, Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Rabin.
Two Israeli leaders who, according to Zak, never met Hussein were David Ben- Gurion and Menachem Begin.