Flotilla Activsts Come To Amman & Jordan Takes A Stand. Kind Of.

Yesterday, it seems people were scrambling to find where the 120 Flotilla activists were arriving. Suffice to say they had a heroes welcome in Amman after Israel’s attacks on their ships and the subsequent deportation of the activists, all of whom are from from Arab and Muslim countries. They’re currently being treated in Amman.

Other than the standard humanitarian assistance, Jordan seems to be taking a stand against Israel’s attack on Flotilla. No, they’re not burning the peace treaty, nor are they kicking out the Israeli representatives and closing the embassy. For some reason, many activists seem to be calling for it here in Jordan, as if half expecting it to happen. Neither the second intifada, Jenin massacre, Israel’s war on Lebanon or the Gaza massacre were able to do that – so why should it happen over this of all things?

In any case, Jordan’s “stand” – more accurately described as an act of sitting down really – is a three point plan. You can really tell they put a lot of thought in to it when they introduce a three point plan.

1- Assigning the Arab Group at the UN the task of encouraging a continuation session of the UN’s 10th emergency session – after the Arab League General Secretariat conducts a legal, procedural and political assessment in a period not exceeding a week.

2- During the session, Arab member countries should seek several resolutions, or a comprehensive one that condemns Israel for attacking the Gaza-bound aid flotilla outside its territorial waters,

3- The plan also suggests that Arabs push for the formation of an international panel to investigate the attack on the flotilla and pressure the international community to force Israel to end its inhumane blockade on Gaza.

Oh, and there’s also the request to look in to whether the Arab League can sue Israel.

In other words, Jordan’s three point plan can be summed up in one word: bureaucracy.

Calling for an extended UN session? A resolution condemning Israel? Calls for an investigation? This is what the government came up with almost four days later? Those suggestions were pretty much made by Ban Ki Moon a few hours after the attack happened. And as empty a shirt as he is, I’m betting it didn’t require he waste government resources to come up with a three point plan written on the back of a napkin.

As a citizen of this country, I’ll make one suggestion to the Jordanian government: stay out of foreign politics.

Seriously. If there are no plans to get tough with Israel after all these years and the losses we have suffered at their hand and continue to – then it is simply better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.


  • Arab foreign ministers should have one cause now: save the environment, stay home and stop flying to cairo!

  • What a load of crap.
    if you really want to help the Palestinians in Gaza, demand that Egypt open its border with Gaza.

    Demand that Egypt, a muslim and an Arab country, allowes Gaza to trade and connect with the outside world.
    very simple, when I think about it.

  • I would demand any Arab politician to stand and speak his opinion so loudly and decidedly as ErdoÄŸan did… even if it stops at the words… it would frighten Israel…
    Palestine is hardly a foreign politics when it comes to Jordan… History and statistics say so…

  • A query. If Jordan were to recall its Ambassador from Israel and ask them to do the same, and suspend diplomatic relations, would that mean that they could then block the convoys of help that are going into Gaza via the HCO ? It seems these convoys have been the only supplies that are allowed through the blockade. At least Jordan is putting its ” relations” with Israel to some good use. Egypt is doing just zilch and actually being obstructive.

  • Agreed with grace.

    This is a tough argument or point to formulate, so I won’t try to do it here (maybe I’ll write something up later), but I will say that I disagree with your main premise. Our diplomatic relations with Israel can be put to good use, we have been increasingly criticizing Israel, top-to-bottom (no exceptions), and there is nothing with our stand with the Palestinians that seems weak to me. Wadi Arabi to me is not a surrender treaty. Our diplomatic relations gave us negotiational leverage, international legitimacy as a nation that tries to bridge the gap and assist in the solution of the conflict, and I believe that Jordan is active in that. What did any other nation do that we fell short of? Kuwait’s withdrawal from the Arab Peace Initiative? Is that an honorable position? THAT is shameful. Diplomatic protest of Israeli action is admirable. Sending aid convoys is admirable. Jordan’s three-point “plan” can surely sound pathetic considering this is exactly what the UN SG called for hours after the incident, but it wasn’t a Jordanian plan, it was a formulation of the Jordanian position — and it was a very positive and acceptable Jordanian position.

    I could oppose Jordan on a thousand things in internal policy, but Jordan’s role in the regional stage and the Conflict is something I agree with 100%. Perhaps I’m part of a “pleased minority”, but regardless, the views and actions of Jordan are fully justified by solid arguments and principles. I don’t mean they are right; as debate on what is right and wrong can go on forever. But when you criticize it, it shouldn’t sound as if the government is doing something idiotic here, because it is a legitimate debate, and the government has its own legitimate arguments that it can disagree with you, without sounding like an idiotic institution.

    My point is, while your view is respected.You should keep in mind that Jordan’s actions are also legitimate and not completely bullshit. To the contrary, many believe it is the rightest possible action, and are proud of it.

  • While I’m inclined to agree with your suggestion that Jordan should just avoid involvement in foreign affairs…isn’t that impossible? Jordan’s domestic policies regarding water, power, and basic economics are built almost exclusively on foreign relations. For whatever it’s worth, I think domestic policymaking has focused on the wrong issues at least since the 1960s, leading to a situation in which the country is left fundamentally dependent on deals that go beyond normal diplomatic ties.

    Nas I think you’re completely right to point out that all the events of the past 10 years in Israel and Palestine have failed to spark ‘real’ diplomatic/political action, and that it’s a little naive to think this latest attack would be any different. But I guess my question is – what would be ‘enough’ to cause a reaction? And beyond that, what would a reaction mean?

    Eyas, I respectfully disagree with your take on Jordanian-Israeli relations. The peace treaty DOES give Jordan a diplomatic conduit into the Palestinian-Israeli issue, but I don’t think that it’s done anything even close to testing the comfort zone of that relationship. I’m by no means saying they should abrogate the treaty or anything of the sort, but the whole thing just seems to me like a security arrangement that has come at the expense of what is fair to Jordan in terms of water and trade. The US-Jordan FTA is, in my mind, a similarly unfair agreement where there the promises on paper don’t match the realities – in what universe does a bilateral FTA involve a 3rd party (especially one with the history of Israel vis a vis Jordan)?

    Anyway my point is that I think there are plenty of other options Jordan could and probably should eventually consider. It shouldn’t drop its treaties, but reconsidering the terms of the treaties wouldn’t be a bad idea, for the sake of the country itself apart from the Palestinian issue.

  • I guess you liked the 3 point thing Naseem 🙂 . I don’t know about that really. The problem is whatever we do, there will always be funding and support from the USA. One thing that has confused me is Obama was highly critical of Israel and when his criticism reached its highest point, he kinda let back, I don’t know. He was all of a sudden talking about how good relationship between the USA and Israel is. Surprisingly then, he even increased military funding to Israel. What do you think of that? And about the flotilla, his comments were extremely weak. Unfortunately it looks like Israel has a good grip on the USA.

    I agree about the government being bad in foreign politics but even locally they have a very hard time getting anything right.

    Their comments should have been a lot sharper than some dull talk about investigations.

  • Thank you.

    While at it, why not milk it? That is what clearly has been the decisive act of Jordan. Whenever disasters will occur around us, the “very wise” government will wait and then do something for a public show.

    After the attack, any stand would have been better than nothing but as usual there is a “vague” promise of acting…things will cool down and then these promises will be gone with the wind.

    Why is the government leaning towards foreign policies? Simply because it has resorted to that many times, in addition, it is not a government by or for the people right now…even internal affiars are suffering a serious setback.

    Cudos to the Jordanian government as always for there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    Even if the Israel-Jordan Peace Treaty is not annulled at least we should know were we stand, recently some of the plants brought in from Israel could have cause a huge health hazard and we import a whapping number of goods. Either the government comes out and says I don’t care about the people, I’m keeping this treaty but at least I will be honest and give them data…or end it all and get it over with…

  • @Dan: my comment about getting out of foreign politics is, naturally, a joke, or at least an over-exaggeration in an attempt to make a point at how futile my country’s efforts have been. to say nothing of our retreat as a leader on this issue over the past decade. as for what will cause that spark, my guess is as good as yours – but if i was forced to give you one, i’d say the inevitable israeli destruction of the aqsa mosque. this, in my opinion, would like be the straw that broke the camel’s back, and perhaps more so for arab governments than for israel.

    @Eyas: the segment of the content minority is growing increasingly smaller everyday in Jordan, and the elastic limit is indeed reaching its final breaking point. this is like patting the fumbling kid on the back for trying to play in a professional football game and then rewarding him points for trying even though he ends up doing more damage than good – especially, in our case, to the domestic constituency. simply wagging a finger at israel for the crimes it commits next door is a foreign policy that is quickly running out of steam amidst a population that is dying for change, and a growing demographic that is demanding a show of action.

    lastly, in the situation that is the arab world today, i would highly recommend removing the contrast of jordan’s position with that of any other arab country in an attempt to demonstrate that we, by comparison, are better. when everyone in the game has blood on their hands, any pointed finger will be covered in some shade of red.

Your Two Piasters: