A Palestinian family reacts after Israeli bulldozers demolished their home in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina, Feb. 5, 2013. (AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Newly elected Israeli Knesset member Yair Lapid (l), leader of the Yesh Atid party, speaks to Naftali Bennett, head of the hard-line national religious party the Jewish Home, during a Feb. 5 reception in Jerusalem marking the opening of the 19th Knesset. (URIEL SINAI/GETTY IMAGES)
Richard Curtiss at work in his Washington Report office. (STAFF PHOTO D. HANLEY)
Then-Vice President Dick Cheney (l) and Likud chairman Benyamin Netanyahu, out of office at the time and serving as the official Israeli opposition leader, at a March 23, 2008 breakfast meeting at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. (PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III (r) shares candies with Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) chief Murad Ebrahim during a Feb. 11 visit to the rebels’ stronghold in Sultan Kudarat on the island of Mindanao. (KARLOS MANLUPIG/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)
Emad Burnat views his five broken cameras in his documentary of the same name. (PHOTO COURTESY KINO LORBER)
March-April 2012, Pages 65-66
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Hosts King Abdullah II of Jordan
"I'm here to tell you that Jordan is open for business. Not only despite the Arab Spring, but also because of the Arab Spring," King Abdullah II ibn Hussein of Jordan told business leaders at a Jan. 19 luncheon hosted by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, DC. "The Arab Spring has been very costly to many countries," he added, noting that it has weakened investor confidence and caused a serious decline in tourism. "But at the end of the day people want more freedom, more jobs and more dignity. These are the messages of the Arab Spring."
Describing his country as "a stable and reliable gateway," King Abdullah said that economic development was essential for future stability. Jordan was the first Arab country to sign a free trade agreement with the United States, and is now modernizing its tax code, the king said.
Jordan's official unemployment rate is 13 percent, but unofficially the rate is much higher. King Abdullah asked American businesses to invest in the kingdom's struggling economy. The rewards are great, he promised, because Jordanian workers are both highly skilled in their professions and speak English. He concluded by urging American listeners to create opportunities for a prosperous future for Jordan's young people.
King Abdullah II was in Washington to speak with U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about attempts to restart peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
—Delinda C. Hanley