The Post's editorial criticizing the op-ed article by Jordan's Crown Prince Hassan, which appeared on the same day as the editorial ("In the Aftermath of Lebanon," Aug. 25), would have been more helpful to The Post's readers -- and certainly less gratuitous -- if it had concentrated on the things the crown prince said, rather than on what he did not say. If The Post does not believe that Israel has expansionist designs that have caused misfortune to Palestinians, it would have been interesting to find out what reasons The Post has for not believing this. Instead, The Post chose to answer this point by publishing a long list of Jordan's alleged shortcomings.
The Post heads up its list with a startling inaccuracy: accusing Jordan of having rejected "the 1948 United Nations partition plan." The fact is that King Abdullah, the grandfather of King Hussein, did not reject the plan (which was proposed, incidentally, in 1947, not 1948). King Abdullah showed realism and moderation in his approach to that and other regional issues. It was for this reason that he lost his life.
Second, it is not true that Jordan "failed to serve Palestinian nationalism" during the years before Israel's capture of the West Bank in 1967. The Palestinians had been, in fact, permitted to participate in the political life of both the West and East banks. But Jordan made it clear that their participation did not prejudice their rights to self-determination in Palestine. King Hussein's concern for Palestinian nationalism was vividly demonstrated in 1964 when, in the wake of an Arab summit conference decision to establish the Palestine Liberation Organization, it was King Hussein himself who presided, in Jerusalem, over its official inauguration.
Third, The Post's allegation that Jordan's "gratuitous go-to-war decision of 1967" resulted "in the occupation of the West Bank" simply repeats an Israeli-inspired myth that defies common sense as much as it disregards the facts. Jordan was, after all, a member of the Arab Joint Defense Council, and after the Israeli attack on Egypt it was duty-bound to help defend Arab soil. Would the United States have expected less from its NATO allies in a similar situation? In any case, even if Jordan had not involved itself in the war, are we seriously to believe that Israel would have missed that golden opportunity to take over the rest of Jerusalem? It has never been difficult for Israel to set up pretexts for what it wants to do -- as it showed most recently in Lebanon.
Fourth, the charge that Jordan carried out a "slaughter" of Palestinians in 1970 that was "many times Israel's in Lebanon" is odious. For one thing, the 1970 events in Jordan were a law-and-order issue on Jordan's own, sovereign territory. Its military action was carried out against armed subversives -- including Jordanians as well as Palestinians and others -- who were threatening the country with anarchy. How can this be equated with what Israel did -- invading the territory of a sovereign neighbor with which it had repeatedly said it had no quarrel? As for the casualties, even the most conservative estimates of the death toll in Lebanon during the past three months are many times higher than that for the Jordan policing operation of 1970: just the opposite of what the editorial states.
So much for The Post's comments on what the crown prince did not say. However, I would like to express my indignation at The Post's implication that the crown prince's committment to Palestinian nationalism and support for the PLO would be less if it were not for the supposed "internal political fragility" of Jordan. The sincerity of the crown prince in expressing courageously his beliefs has often been tested and never found wanting. Even if there were a "political fragility" in Jordan -- which there is not -- Crown Prince Hassan would have presented his views in exactly the same way.
One last point: it is true, as The Post says, that Arab "moderates" like the crown prince want American friendship. Whether they "desperately need" it, as the editorial states, is more open to question. In any case, friendship should not be viewed, in the way the editorial does, as a one-sided "need." Of course, we want American friendship. If we also need it, we need it only to the same degree that the United States needs ours. That's what friendship means. And we are proud of the long period during which Jordan and the United States have been true friends.