Related recent developments
- Abdullah delivers withering criticism of Israeli polices in April 6 2010 Wall Street Journal interview.
- J Street leadership meets Abdullah in Amman on May 1 2010.
- Major General (Res.) Uri Saguy chronicles the results of Lauder’s efforts at brokering talks between Netanyahu and Assad in the ’90s.
Lauder on the move again
Ben Caspit, Maariv, May 5 2010 [page 8 with front-page lead; Hebrew original here]Zionist Lauder
Associate of the prime minister and Jewish billionaire Ron Lauder visited in Jordan in recent days and held several high level meetings with officials there. The Prime Minister’s Bureau is denying that these visits were conducted on behalf of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and said that Lauder briefed Netanyahu only later, after returning home yesterday.Ties between Israel and Jordan are at an all-time low and very tense.
In the past year, King Abdullah has been making ever more frequent statements concerning the deteriorating situation of the Middle East and the risk of war. He has also been a harsh critic of the Israeli government as well as of Netanyahu’s policies.
Only last week the king warned, referring to construction in East Jerusalem, that Israel was playing with fire and mentioned that according to Israel’s peace accord with Jordan, the latter had rights to Jerusalem’s holy sites. He said that all options were on the table when it came to protecting he holy sites as well as Jordan’s interests in the city.
The Prime Minister’s Bureau issued the following statement yesterday: “Word Jewish Congress President Ron Lauder is a personal friend of Prime Minister Netanyahu. The last time Lauder served as a political envoy for the prime minister was 12 years ago.
Mr. Lauder tends to travel from time to time to various countries in the capacity of his role in the World Jewish Congress. The prime minister had no prior knowledge of Lauder’s trip to Jordan, and it was certainly not he who dispatched him there. Moreover, the prime minister is in no need of emissaries to dispatch messages to Jordan.
When such a need arises, he does this directly through a phone call with the king or a government official. Such has occurred also in recent days.”
As one might recall, Lauder served as Prime Minister Netanyahu’s personal envoy to the late Syrian president Hafez Assad during Netanyahu’s first term as prime minister. Lauder shuttled between Jerusalem and Damascus and exchanged direct messages between the prime minister and the Syrian president.
A diplomatic source in Jordan said yesterday that Lauder had used his recent visit to Jordan in order to “send signals.” It can, in the least, be deduced from the Prime Minister’s Bureau’s denial that in recent days, messages were exchanged between the prime minister and King Abdullah, whether by direct phone call or official emissary. Such emissaries are usually Mossad Director Meir Dagan or National Security Adviser Uzi Arad.
Relations between Israel and Jordan are presently at particularly low point, following the king’s profound concern that the continued political impasse could harm Jordan’s standing and lead the entire region to violence.