Text of letter sent from Jordan's King Hussein to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

AMMAN (March 9) -

Prime Minister,

My distress is genuine and deep over the accumulating tragic actions which you have initiated at the head of the government of Israel, making peace - the worthiest objective of my life - appear more and more like a distant elusive mirage. I could remain aloof if the very lives of all Arabs and Israelis and their future were not fast sliding towards an abyss of bloodshed and disaster, brought about by fear and despair.

I frankly cannot accept your repeated excuse of having to act the way you do under great duress and pressure. I cannot believe that the people of Israel seek bloodshed and disaster and oppose peace. Nor can I believe that the most constitutionally powerful prime minister in Israeli history would act on other than his total convictions. The saddest reality that has been dawning on me is that I do not find you by my side in working to fulfill God's will for the final reconciliation of all the descendants of the children of Abraham.

Your course of actions seem bent on destroying all I believe in or have striven to achieve with the Hashemite family since Faisal the First and Abdullah to the present times. You cannot send me assurances that you would not sanction any further construction of settlements and tell me of your decision to construct two roads to help all concerned Israelis and Palestinians alike and then renege on your commitment. In pushing matters to the point of securing a US veto at the Security Council, you have ill served the image and interest of your major ally and benefactor and our partner in peace making as the honest balanced peace broker.

Mr. Prime Minister, if it is your intention to maneuver our Palestinian brethren into inevitable violent resistance, then order your bulldozers into the proposed settlement site without doing much which is needed in recognition of Palestinian and Arab sensitivity, anger and despair and ameliorating the situation, then order the young Israeli members of your powerful armed forces surrounding Palestinian towns to commit wanton murder and mayhem, possibly resulting in creating yet a fresh exodus of hapless Palestinians from theirs, and their ancestors, homeland and bury the peace process for all times.

On the question of your withdrawal from territories you have committed Israel, before the US, Jordan, and the world, to complete the process by mid-1998, what good did it serve to offer such an insignificant first phase withdrawal? Why the apparent continued deliberate humiliation of your so called Palestinian partners? Can any worthwhile relationship thrive in the absence of mutual respect and trust?

Why are Palestinians still confirming that their agricultural products still rot awaiting entry into Israel and export? Why the delay when it is known that unless work is authorized to commence on the Gaza port, before the the end of this month, the complete project would suffer a year's delay? Finally, the Gaza Airport - all of us have addressed the subject numerous times with a view to having a legitimate Palestinian need met and to give their leaders and people their own free access to the world rather than their present confinement and need to exit and return through other sovereign territories.

I had requested permission and intended to fly President Arafat myself, in Jordan's official State Tristar, to the Palestinian airport of Gaza as I had requested earlier, during my Hebron intervention, to fly by a fixed wing aircraft, accepting your refusal then only because there were far more important issues at hand.

I anticipated your positive response this time. I believed it would have helped improve the atmosphere considerably, but alas, it was not to be. Now, suppose I had taken off nonetheless for Gaza, in the full right of a friend, then would you have ordered my fellow pilots in the Israeli Air Force - those who escorted me on the same aircraft over Israel in what became known as the 'First Flight of Peace' - it seems so long ago - to prevent me forcibly from landing or worse?

You will never know how close you came to having to make a decision on the subject had I, on this occasion, not planned to carry guests back home. How can I work with you as a partner and true friend in this confused and confusing atmosphere when I sense an intent to destroy all I worked to build between our peoples and states. Stubbornness over real issues is one thing, but for its own sake, I wonder. In any event, I have discovered that you have your own mindset and appear in no need for any advice from a friend.

I deeply regret having to write you this personal message but it is my sense of responsibility and concern which has prompted me for posterity to do so in the face of the unknown.

Sincerely,

Hussein