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September 30, 2014 / 6 Tishri, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Amman’

Jordan’s King Abdullah Needs to Wake Up – Fast

Monday, February 13th, 2012

Facing growing criticism over lack of reforms and transparency, Jordan’s King Abdullah has announced an unprecedented crackdown on corruption, sending a number of his former top government officials to prison.

But the clampdown has only increased the appetite of the Jordanians, who continue to press for harsher measures against senior officials suspected of embezzling public funds and abusing their powers.

The king’s hitherto unsuccessful attempts to appease the protesters are designed first and foremost to prevent the Arab Spring from infiltrating the kingdom.

For the past several months, Jordan has witnessed weekly demonstrations calling for far-reaching reforms and an end to financial corruption. Most of the protests have been initiated by the kingdom’s powerful Muslim Brotherhood organization.

At the beginning, King Abdullah did not take the protests seriously. But when some Bedouin tribes who were known for their loyalty to the monarchy started joining the protests, the king finally began to realize that the situation in the kingdom is much more serious than he had thought.

Over the past year, King Abdullah has dismissed two governments in a bid to calm the situation, but to no avail. His recent decision to appoint Awn Khasawneh, a respected judge of the International Court of Justice, as prime minister, has also failed to put an end to the growing protests.

Although most of the protesters in Jordan have thus far avoided calling for regime change, a former parliament member broke the rules by publicly calling for toppling the monarchy.

The man, Ahmed Abbadi, was last week arrested by Jordanian security forces and is now facing up to 15 years in jail if convicted.

Abbadi hails from a powerful Jordanian tribe and his arrest has triggered street clashes between his supporters and police forces in the capital Amman.

Members of Abbadi’s tribe have vowed to stage more protests until the former lawmaker is released.

Political analysts in Amman point out that the king is desperate to restore calm and order that he has gone as far as ordering his security forces to arrest some of his most trusted and loyal officials, including the former mayor of Amman, Omar Maani, and the ex-chief of General Intelligence, Mohammed Dahabi.

The two men were arrested on suspicion of financial corruption as part of the king’s efforts to show that he is serious about reforms and transparency.

Some former prime ministers and cabinet ministers are also being questioned about their role in various corruption scandals over the past decade.

Yet all these measures have failed to convince the demonstrators that the king is indeed serious about improving the situation.

Each arrest and questioning has been followed by more demands from angry Jordanians.

Now many protesters are demanding that the king arrest Bassem Awadallah, one of his closest friends and a former minister of planning and head of the Royal Court, on graft charges.

A Jordanian journalist said that if the king continues to succumb to public pressure, “in the end he will have to fire himself.”

True, King Abdullah has taken a number of measures to fight corruption in his little kingdom. But at the end of the day, Jordan is still far from becoming a democratic country.

This is a country where the king can appoint and fire prime ministers and governments and dissolve an elected parliament any time he wishes. And this is a country where the prime minister — with the approval of the king, of course — appoints newspaper editors and senior journalists.

King Abdullah’s efforts to improve his image were recently marred by the sentencing of an 18-year-old activist to two years in prison for setting fire to a picture of His Majesty King Abdullah II.

The young man, Uday Abu Issa, was tried before a military state court, which found him guilty of “undermining the king’s dignity.”

The king would do well to realize that in the age of the Arab Spring, sending a young man to prison for burning the picture of an Arab leader will only add fuel to the fire. He also needs to understand that the rule of totalitarian autocrats in the Arab world is no longer acceptable.

If King Abdullah wants to survive, he must cede some of his powers, allow free and democratic elections for parliament and government and stop suppressing his critics. If he fails to wake up, Jordan could soon be taken over either by Islamists or the Palestinian majority.

Spat Between Israeli, PA Delegations in Amman

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told his cabinet Sunday that he is pessimistic about prospects for peace based on current negotiations, following volatile meetings between Israeli and Palestinian Authority representatives in Amman, Jordan.

“As things stand now, according to what happened over the past few days – when the Palestinians refused even to discuss Israel’s security needs with us – the signs are not particularly good,” Netanyahu said during his weekly meeting in Jerusalem.

In Ramallah, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told Irish Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore on Saturday that “Israeli intransigence” was behind the talks’ failure, saying Israel did not present a “clear vision” of border and security issues.  He said the PA remains committed to “end[ing] the Israeli occupation” and establishing a Palestinian state which would contain lands currently inside the borders of post-Six Day War Israel, with eastern Jerusalem as its capital.  PA officials criticized Israel’s plan for preserving a majority of Israeli communities in the historic Jewish regions of Judea and Samaria.

On Saturday, an acrimonious spat broke out between  Israeli and PA negotiators in Amman, which is said to have stunned the Jordanian hosts who had brokered the renewed talks.

Leader of the Israeli negotiating team Yitzhak Molcho and head PA negotiator Saeb Erekat exchanged verbal jabs after Erekat prevented a senior Israeli officer from elaborating on Israel’s position on security arrangements.

Molcho brought with him to the Saturday meeting the head of the IDF strategic planning division, Brigadier-General Assaf Orion, to present Israel’s detailed position on security.  Erekat refused to hear Orion, saying the Brigadier-General should present his statements to the PA delegation as a written document, telling the Israeli team that he did not “have the mandate” to negotiate security decisions without a detailed document from the Israeli delegation on the issues of borders and security.

To that, Molcho responded that if Erekat does not have a mandate to discuss those crucial issues, “maybe you should leave and bring someone in your place who does”.

Molcho also criticized the PA for allowing incitement against Israel in its press, and read a number of quotes from the Mufti of Jerusalem, who was broadcast at a Fatah conference on Palestinian television last week for calling for the murder of Jews.

The PA has already announced that the next meeting between Israel and the PA in Amman will be the last.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will be arriving in Israel in the near future to press Israel on the issue of negotiations with the PA.  He will also meet with Israeli leaders on issues pertaining to an attack on Iran.

On Friday, the Obama administration urged Israelis and Palestinians to continue holding talks in Amman.

 

PM Netanyahu on Continuing Peace Talks With Palestinians: ‘Signs Are Not Good’

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday said that “[t]he signs are not particularly good [for the possibility of continuing talks with the Palestinians], but I hope they will rebound and we can make progress.”

Netanyahu placed much of the blame for the failure of recent negotiations in Jordan on the Palestinians, saying “they have refused to discuss with us our security needs.”

 

Abbas: No Progress in Amman

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

PA president Mahmoud Abbas announced that the ongoing exploratory peace talks with Israel have ended without any progress,  but allowed the possibility of continuing the low-level discussions.

Israel has professed its desire to continue the talks, while analysts agree that Abbas is under growing pressure to continue the dialogue.

The Quartet declared in October 2011 that it expected the parties to submit detailed proposals on borders and security arrangements by January 26, 2012.

The low-level talks of the past three weeks have been an attempt to agree on a framework for direct negotiations.

 

Peace Talks Over, Abbas Says

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared peace talks with Israel over on Wednesday, ending a series of low-level meetings that brought no tangible results despite pressure from the United States, the European Union and the talks’ Jordanian hosts.

The final meeting of five held in Amman between PA representative Saeb Erekat and Israeli representative Yitzhak Molcho broke down over the issue of borders, with the PA insisting on exchanging solid proposals and Israel presenting only maps of areas to be negotiated over in higher-level talks. Palestinians have demanded that the 1967 cease-fire line be considered the border between Israel and a Palestinian state, while Israel has insisted on deviations from that line.

Even before the meeting on Wednesday, PA and Israeli officials declared the talks fruitless, with each side trying to portray the other as the recalcitrant one.

American and European leaders had urged both sides to find common ground on borders, security arrangements and other issues that could set the stage for higher-level negotiations. EU foreign policy chief Catherin Ashton, currently visiting Israel and the PA, stressed European hopes for progress.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II even intimated that failure in the Amman talks would mean worse relations between his kingdom and Israel – possibly including freezing diplomatic ties – in an attempt to pressure Jerusalem.

An official in Jerusalem was quoted as saying that Israel hoped to continue talks with the Palestinians, while Abbas said he would consult with the Arab League on further steps. “We hope that the Palestinians aren’t looking for an excuse to walk away from the table,” the official said.

Report: Palestinians Demand Prisoner Release to Continue Talks

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

Palestinian negotiators have demanded the release of senior terror leaders in Israeli prison in order to continue talks with Israel, the Gulf News reported Wednesday.

Israeli and Palestinian negotiators are currently meeting in Amman to agree on a formula for moving onto direct negotiations. The Quartet had imposed a deadline that is set to expire Thursday.

The report quoted a senior Fatah official as saying that “[a] Palestinian approval to direct negotiations, a two-month extension to the Quartet deadline and the continuation of the Amman exploratory meetings is possible only if Palestinian prisoners are released.”

The Palestinians are reportedly seeking the deportation of Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sa’adat, secretary-general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

Report: Jordan Considering Diplomatic Sanctions on Israel Over Palestinians

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

King Abdullah of Jordan has insinuated that relations between Israel and Jordan may suffer if Israel does not facilitate progress with the Palestinians in Jordan, according to the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper.

The report stated that Abdullah was able to convince PA president Mahmoud Abbas to hold discussions in Amman by intimating that Jordan would consider diplomatic sanctions if Israel failed to “demonstrate it is willing to make significant concessions which will allow the Palestinian leadership to justify their return to the negotiating table.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/report-jordan-considering-diplomatic-sanctions-on-israel-over-palestinians/2012/01/25/

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