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Palestinians propelled into arms of extremists

In the recent past, I have supported Dr Munjed Farid Al Qutob (Write Back, January 6) in his determination to separate nihilistic Islamists from the vast majority of their Muslim co-religionists, who are law-abiding and peace-loving citizens of their host Western states.

However, as a historian, I have to depart from this supportive position when it comes to his campaign depicting King Abdullah II of Jordan as a utopian visionary, who holds the keys to a moral and peaceful solution to the ongoing tragedy of the Palestinian people.

This is revisionism of the most cynical kind. The Hashemite Kingdom was - and remains - as concerned and indifferent to genuine Palestinian grievances as any other Arab state.

Indeed, Jordan took one of the most interventionist and self-preservationist actions against Palestinians in the civil war of September 1970 when King Hussein, Abdullah's father, engaged Yasser Arafat's PLO militants in order to secure his throne from being usurped.

Consequently, more than 15,000 Palestinians, civilian and militant, were killed.

Therefore, to suggest - as Dr Al Qutob does - that Jordan has some kind of special empathy towards Palestinian suffering is a cynical strategy to underpin the consistent depiction of Israel as the sole progenitor of the Palestinian tragedy.

Jordan's dilemma is that, if it allowed more Palestinians into the country, the kingdom, which already has a Palestinian majority, would be transformed into a de facto Palestinian state.

Indeed, it can be argued that, by marginalising and exploiting Palestinian aspirations, Jordan is propelling them into the welcoming arms of Islamist extremists such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and, most especially, Isis.

DR KEVIN McCARTHY

Kinsale, Co Cork

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