Peace Shines Over Jordan River

ISRAEL and Jordan ended 46 years of hostility yesterday, signing a peace treaty in the presence of President Clinton and 5,000 invited guests.

The prime ministers of both countries signed the historic document to the applause of the guests at a specially erected arena in the searing desert heat.

Mr. Clinton welcomed the treaty, saying, ``We break the chains of the past that for too long have kept you shackled in the shadows of strife and suffering.''

Israel signed its first and only other treaty with an Arab state, Egypt, in 1979. Last year, it signed an interim peace deal with the Palestine Liberation Organization.

``I say to the people of Israel and Jordan: Now you must make this peace real, to turn no man's land into every man's home, to take down the barbed wire, to remove the deadly mines, to help the wounds of war to heal,'' Clinton said. ``Open your borders, open your hearts. Peace is more than an agreement on paper. It is feeling, it is activity, it is devotion.''

Earlier, Clinton met in Cairo with PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat - a critic of the agreement who boycotted the ceremony. Clinton said that Mr. Arafat gave him a ``firm and unambiguous'' promise to fight the Hamas and other extremist groups.

Both Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin and King Hussein are former soldiers. The king hailed the signing, saying the two longtime foes had come together to ensure there would be ``no more death, no more misery.''

Mr. Rabin said the time had come not only to dream of a better future but also to bring it about. ``It is not only our states that are making peace with each other today.... You and I, Your Majesty, are making peace here, our own peace, the peace of soldiers and the peace of friends,'' Rabin said.

``This great valley in which we stand will become the valley of peace,'' the king said. ``We will come to live together as never before - Israelis and Jordanians.''

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.