Jordan has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic: more than 600,000 confirmed cases over all, more than 7,000 deaths in a population of about 11 million, and new daily cases averaging about 6,500 over the past week.
Though its government largely escaped the turmoil of the popular uprisings across the Middle East that began a decade ago in what became known as the Arab Spring, Jordan has absorbed a massive influx of about 650,000 refugees from the Syrian civil war that raged across its northern border, further stretching its already limited resources.
The situation in Jordan was being watched closely in neighboring Israel, which signed a peace treaty with the kingdom in 1994 and maintains close security ties with it.
A conversation took place on Saturday night between senior Jordanian officials and their Israeli military and internal security counterparts, according to an Israeli official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to talk about sensitive security and diplomatic issues. According to the Israeli official, the Jordanian officials told their Israeli counterparts that there had not been a coup attempt, that the situation was under control and that its gravity had been exaggerated by the news media, though they did confirm that arrests had been made.
The Israeli official said Israel viewed the event as potentially very significant and that officials there could not recall a similar event in Jordan’s past. The office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had no immediate comment.
In his video, Prince Hamzah described a meeting in which he was told that people had been critical of the king or the government at meetings where he was present.
“I asked him if I was the one criticizing and he said no,” he said. “He said but this was a warning from him, from the chief of police and from the chief of the security services, the mukhabarat, that I should not leave my house, that I could only visit family, that I could not tweet and that I could not communicate with people,” Prince Hamzah said.