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Fighting Israel by building the country

Jan 02,2019 - Last updated at Jan 02,2019

It is a fact of life that Israel would be more alarmed if Jordan achieves self-reliance than when a Jordanian minister treads, unintentionally, on its flag.

We remember the image of George Bush Sr. painted at the entrance of Al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad in the 1990s and we are aware that having foreign delegates step on it, because there was no other way, did nothing for Iraq. That is fact number two.

Another fact: Jordanians have the constitutionally-safeguarded right to express their anti-Israel sentiments, if they wish to, as long as such expressions do not violate the law. However, wars are not won by expressing sentiments or painting the banner of the enemy at the entrance of buildings.

Time and energy are better spent on efforts to achieve the ultimate independence of our country, bearing in mind that even some so-called friends and allies do not want that for Jordan.

And who are better people to lead this endeavour than our talented professionals, the elite segment that can push forward scientific research, industry, education, entrepreneurship and every other sector where advancement is advancement for the nation. Alas, the professional associations, in the absence of effective political parties, have been much more involved in politics over the past decades than tailoring solutions to the country's woes. 

Before the peace treaty was signed with Israel in 1994, Jordan was on the frontline in the conflict with the occupation state and after the treaty, the nature of the war has changed, but it is no less fierce. Jordan remains in the frontline, engaged with Israel every day, as it has done its utmost to protect the Palestinians against Israeli practices, safeguard Jerusalem's Arab-Islamic character and fight back against illegal settlement activities. The battlefield has been relocated to the United Nations, UNESCO and every other venue where Jordan deploys its effective foreign policy to garner support for the just and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people.

Battles have been won here and there and high scores achieved, but the leadership cannot afford to be in this battlefield alone. All, especially the intelligentsia, should contribute their efforts to help win this war, and the Palestinians can use any form of support to remain deeply rooted in their national soil, other than empty, good-for-nothing rhetoric.

One of the bright examples is what the Jordan Engineering Association has done, renovating the houses of Jerusalemites to empower them to withstand relentless Israeli attempts to uproot them from their home city. This is the kind of support and positive action we are talking about.

Another was a grassroots campaign that preceded His Majesty King Abdullah’s decision to terminate annexes in the 1994 peace treaty with Israel, thus ending a "lease" of Jordanian lands in Baqoura and Ghumar to Israelis under a "special regime".

On another track, political activists should be endeavouring to achieve full-fledged democracy. True democracy in Jordan does scare Israel. If we have a sound elections law that produces a truly representative House based on party platforms, action could be taken, then, to abolish the peace pact with Israel and remove its embassy from Jordanian turf, if that was the voters' will.

We need a revision of the way we have been fighting Israel to synchronise national effort in that war and ensure harmony between the leadership, the elite and the grassroots. That is something Israel would never like to see happening in Jordan.


The writer is the deputy chief editor 

of The Jordan Times

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