A group of Israeli Arabs have crossed into Jordan from the Israeli-occupied West Bank to offer condolences to King Hussein of Jordan on the death of his wife, Queen Alia.
A group of Israeli Arabs have crossed into Jordan from the Israeli-occupied West Bank to offer condolences to King Hussein of Jordan on the death of his wife, Queen Alia. They are the first to officially cross the frontier since Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Until now, neither Israel nor Jordan has allowed Israeli Arabs into Jordan.
SYNOPSIS: The River Jordan separates Jordan proper, to the East. And the West Bank, under Israeli administration. The Allenby Bridge connects the two sides, and it's here where any crossings take place. On Friday (February 18)a group of 28 Israeli Arabs were granted permits to cross the bridge to pay their respects to Queen Alia. The Queen, King Hussein's third wife, died at the age of 28 nine days earlier in a helicopter crash. The accident also killed Jordan's Health Minister, Mohammed al-Bashire, and two senior army officers. Queen Alia was returning from an inspection of a hospital 80 miles (125 kilometres) from the capital, Amman, after reading complaints about it in the press. Queen Alia had two children during her marriage to king Hussein. One of them, Prince Ali is in line for the Jordanian throne.
The Israeli Arab delegation, travelling by bus, was led by two senior religious leaders.
The development comes in the middle of international moves to reconvene the 1973 Geneva Middle East Peace Conference. The United State, Mr. Cyrus Vance, has currently been on a six nation Mid-East tor promoting the Geneva resumption, which will be based on proposals to create an independent Palestinian state on the West Bank.
The Palestinian Liberation Organisation have recently been reported willing to discuss the idea of a smaller Palestine on the West Bank.