Anti-normalization forces gaining strength in Jordan

J'lem worried over breakdown of relations as Jordanian insurer refuses to continue insuring embassy cars, agricultural exports to Jordan down 25%.

By
August 9, 2011 23:31
3 minute read.
Jordan political reform

Jordan political reform 521. (photo credit: Hani Hazaimeh)

 
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Israel is increasingly concerned about damage to Israeli- Jordanian relations caused by anti-normalization elements in Jordan that have become more and more active since the beginning of the year, sources in Jerusalem said Tuesday.

While there have long been vocal elements inside Jordan opposed to the 1994 Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, in recent months these voices have increased and are jeopardizing economic ties, the sources said.

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For instance, last week the Jordanian insurance agency that provided policies for the Israeli embassy’s fleet of cars in Amman informed envoys that because of pressure from anti-normalization forces to cut off ties, it would no longer work with the embassy, a move that has forced it to scramble to find a new insurer.

In addition, the sources said that since the beginning of the year there had been a 25-30 percent decrease in agricultural products exported to Jordan because of pressure placed on Jordanian businesses bringing in the products.

According to the sources, those opposed to peace between the two countries are looking for the names of Jordanian businesses importing items from Israel, and placing pressure on them to end their contact with Israeli firms.

In addition, the sources said that even Jordanian exporters – such as businesses selling olives to Israel – are being pressured to stop. The olive exporters are being told that Israeli firms are taking their olives, making olive oil out of them and exporting it themselves for a profit to Europe.

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The sources said Israeli diplomatic officials had raised these matters with Jordanian authorities, hoping to hear government statements saying there is peace with Israel and that business is not only permitted but welcome.

They were met with “rolling eyes.”

The sources said anti-normalization forces in Jordan then see there is no objection from the government, gain confidence from the silence and continue with their efforts.

In addition, the sources said the Jordanian press was increasingly becoming more anti-Israel. For instance, an article Monday on the English website of the Ammon news service referred to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu as a war criminal, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon as a “despicable bastard,” Israel as a “snake,” and Zionists as a “despicable, obnoxious group of people.”

The Jordan Times, meanwhile, ran a story Sunday reporting that 17 years after the signing of the Israeli-Jordanian peace treaty, many Jordanian journalists “still view Israel as an enemy occupying Arab lands and oppressing a brotherly Arab people, which, they say, should be enough to deprive it of the right to get an Arab platform.”

The paper quoted the head of Jordan Press Association, Tareq Momani, as saying that when Israel was involved, patriotism “should take precedence over all other considerations.” He said his organization opposed contact between its members and Israelis.

“We are totally against any contact with Israelis. The issue here is not just about journalism.

Israel for us is still an enemy occupying Arab land and oppressing Arab people.

We will not accept giving their views a platform,” Momani was quoted as telling the Times.

The sources in Jerusalem attributed the increasingly negative atmosphere toward Israel in Jordan to the Arab Spring, the diplomatic standoff with the Palestinians and the run-up to the Palestinian statehood recognition bid at the UN in September.

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