The secret talks between Jordan and Israel began in 1963 and continued until the two countries signed the peace treaty in 1994. The talks are unique in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict. The post-Six-Day War talks were held on two tracks: one between Yaakov Herzog, the Director of the PM’s office and Zayd al-Rifa’i, King Hussein’s private secretary; the second, on a higher level, between Israeli ministers Yigal Allon and Abba Eban and the king. The two sides moved on parallel lines that could never meet. Constraints on both sides contributed to the inevitable logjam. The king genuinely hoped to reach a peace with Israel based on the principles of the Arab Summit and his talks with Nasser. Israel, on the other hand, was reluctant to commit itself to enter into peace negotiations with Jordan, avoiding serious discussion on the principles of peace. Instead it presented the Allon Plan for discussion with the king. Thus, the gap in the positions on the talks’ goals, in the components of the solution to the conflict and the peace settlement was unbridgeable. Despite this impasse both parties felt it was in their common interest to pursue the talks, which became a goal in itself. The gap was not only in the concept of peace and talks’ objectives, but in all core issues related to peace, such as the territorial issue, especially the status of Jerusalem, and interpretation of UNSCR 242. With hindsight, the core issues in the solution to the West Bank remain unchanged, but the Palestinians replaced Jordan as the main Arab party to determining the future of the West Bank.


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pp. 87-120
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