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Ignoring threats, Jordanian sworn in as Israel envoy
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October 8, 2012 19:30
Walid Obeidat rejects warnings from his clan not to become Jordan's ambassador to Israel, fills position after 2-year vacancy.
JORDANIAN POLICE GUARD ISRAEL'S EMBASSY IN AMMAN

JORDANIAN POLICE GUARD ISRAEL'S EMBASSY IN AMMAN 370. (photo credit:REUTERS/Gil Cohen Magen)

The new Jordanian ambassador to Israel, Walid Obeidat, was sworn in Monday before King Abdullah after rejecting threats from his powerful clan not to accept the job.

The ceremony was attended by Jordanian Foreign Minister Naser Judeh.



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Obeidat chose to ignore his family’s threats that they would “disown” him if he agreed to serve as ambassador to Israel. Last week the clan issued a statement strongly denouncing Obeidat’s appointment and calling on him to turn down the offer.

The family considers the appointment of one of their members as ambassador to Israel “disgraceful and an insult to the clan’s reputation and history.” It tried to persuade Obeidat to reject the appointment, but to no avail.

Sources in Jordan said that a wealthy member of the clan offered to pay the new ambassador five million Jordanian dinars in return for rejecting the appointment.

The sources said that the family’s heads also offered to nominate Obeidat as their candidate in the upcoming parliamentary election – an offer that was also turned down by the new ambassador.

Jordanian columnist As’ad al-Azouni said that Obeidat’s insistence on taking the job would cost him a heavy price.

“He will live the rest of his life ostracized and humiliated,” Azouni said. “And his children and grandchildren will inherit this from him, as well as his wife. There’s nothing more difficult than having your clan disown you.”

Defending the appointment of an ambassador to Israel after a two-year lull, Judeh said that all the ambassadors who went to Israel belonged to respected clans.

He said that the appointment was a “sovereign decision” and that Obeidat will assume his new job on October 17.

The appointment was aimed at serving the interests of Jordan and not at appeasing Israel, Judeh stressed.
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