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Crisis Diplomacy: Failed Attempt to Assassinate Hamas Leader Khalid Mishel and Treaty of Peace Between Israel and Jordan

by on February 9, 2013


In Middle East, Israel and Jordan enjoyed great diplomatic relations, since the peace treaty between them in 1994, were both countries signed number of agreements paved the way a new chapter of diplomatic relations after Jordan was part in the past the triangle forces in share with Egypt and Syria launched    attack against the state of Israel. The move was seen the best in the eyes of many parts like United States and Europe who was involved the process and concerned the chronic conflict in greater Middle East.



One of the main principles of the agreement between Jordan and Israel was Security and Defense article, which says “each country promised respect for the sovereignty and territory of each side, to not enter the other’s land without permission and to work together against terrorism”. This included thwarting and sizing border attacks, smuggling, preventing any hostile attack against the other.

Although both Israel and Jordan practically hold the nerve and fulfilled most of treaty principles, something was wrong inside Israel. The Palestinian armed Group (Hamas) which has a military presence in the occupied Palestine and political presence in Jordan launched a series of suicide bombings in cities inside Israel to kill many Israeli citizens. The Israeli Prime Minster in that time Benjamin Natanyahu and his cabinet gambled the treaty with Jordan and approved the assassination act against Hamas leadership in Jordan without any advance notice to King Hussein of Jordan.



In 25 September 1997,  two Israeli Mossad agents disguised as Canadian tourists injected poison into Khalid Meshal’s ear but he was rushed to hospital before it took hold and the agents was handed to Jordanian Intelligence Service. King Hussein of Jordan contacted with Prime Minster Natanyahu and informed that Israel let down the treaty between the two nations by entering Jordanian soil and conducting illegal activities, so the peace treaty will be buried with Khalid Mishel if he died, however, Benjamin Natanyahu did not give enough attention as long as they hit the target. 


The diplomatic crisis between Jordan and Israel appeared to the public, however, U.S. President Bill Clinton interfered the matter to end it, by asking Israeli leaders to deliver the antidote of the poison immediately to Jordan to save the peace treaty which Israel accepted. Within 48 hours, Jordanian authorities announced the end of diplomatic crisis between Jordan and Israel, the full recovery of Hamas Leader Khalid Mashel and deportation the two Mossad alleged agents in to Israel. According to U.S. Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, the treaty between Jordanian and Israelis was the strongest before the crisis caused a huge damage and without the wisdom of American leadership led by President Clinton it my die suddenly.          



McGeough, P. (2010) Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas, New Press, New York.





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  1. Indeed this article highlighted diplomatic crisis between Jordan and Israel in the wake of assassination attempt of Khalid Mishal of Hamas in jordanian capital Amman, Israel had peace treaty with Jordan and dared to kill him but late king Hussein took firm action and altimatum that if Hamas leader dies Jordan will put the the two Mossad agents in court and hung them, immediately Isreal leader sent special plane with doctors and antidote in order to save Mishal, the two Mossad agents as well as their relationship with Jordan.

  2. Yes, it was important for the US to step in. It was certainly in Israel’s interests to keep diploamatic ties with Jordan as they dont have many friends in the region. It is clear from my point of view that Hamas would not stop the bombings as a resut of Khaleed Meshaal being assasinated, but rather step up their attacks in retaliation. If this problem wasn’t addressed quickly, it may have resulted in an escalation of violence in the region due to the importance of Meshaal. I think it was a max of 48 hours to live after the poison had been sprayed in his ear. It could very well have ended differently if the 2 Mossad agents had not been caught,and they very nearly escaped.

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