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MPs criticise House panel for refusing to listen to FM Gaza briefing

By Khaled Neimat - Aug 14,2014 - Last updated at Aug 14,2014

AMMAN — Several MPs on Thursday criticised the behaviour of their colleagues in the Lower House’s Palestine Committee when they declined to listen to a briefing by Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh over the Gaza crisis.

It is more important to listen to Judeh and the government’s point of view at this stage rather than try to embarrass him, an MP who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing negative reactions from committee members, told The Jordan Times after the conclusion of the panel meeting.

“Palestinian delegates from Hamas have been negotiating with Israelis in Cairo, while our colleagues in the committee could not listen to our own foreign minister, who would have provided them with useful information and feedback,” the MP added.

The Palestine Committee on Thursday refused to listen to an official briefing on the Gaza crisis, accusing the government of being late in providing this information to its members. 

The panel also said the government’s reaction to the bloodshed in the besieged strip has been “below expectations”.

Judeh was present at the meeting but the MPs declined to listen to his remarks on the issue.

“He waited in a room next to the meeting hall for more than 30 minutes to join the MPs in the prescheduled meeting, but it seems the deputies had a different plan,” Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Sabah Al Rafei told The Jordan Times over the phone.

“He did not leave even after he realised that the MPs would not hear his briefing,” she noted, saying this was only out of Judeh’s and the government’s respect for MPs.

Committee members told Judeh that he is welcome to attend in his personal capacity, but said they will not listen to what he has to say as foreign minister, a parliamentary source told The Jordan Times.

Rafei said MPs are free to listen to the briefing or decline it and the minister showed his respect for their decision by not leaving before sitting with them.

The committee had requested this meeting sometime ago and when Judeh showed up for it, the members declined to proceed accordingly, a parliamentary source said. 

He criticised the deputies for refusing to listen to Judeh, saying many MPs usually complain that government officials do not update them on current issues. 

“This is not political behaviour,” the source said on condition of anonymity. “It would have been better if they completed the meeting and addressed Judeh with their concerns rather than cancelling the briefing in what seems to be a publicity stunt more than anything else.”

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