Al Jazeera’s Arab Street: Views From Amman

Al Jazeera English recently aired its Arab Street program on Amman. It’s interesting to watch and listen to the views of average Jordanians as Al Jazeera poses various questions to them. The questions are, naturally, the usual suspects. Israel. Palestine. Israel. Palestine. Israel. Israel. Israel. Iraq. Iraq. Iraq. Oil. Water. Nuclear technology. Tourism. Honor crimes. Tribalism.

A lot of the views are, what I like to call, falsafeh, which is basically an art form in Jordan. Nevertheless, it is interesting to hear Jordanians speaking with a great deal of authority, even though some of the “facts” are not so factual.

Part I.

Part II.


  • One of the girls want to beg Israel for water if we have too, samrt girl, keep begging start from now maybe they will give you the water you want.
    If Omar Bin Al-Katab lived to see such people what would he have said?????

  • I only watched the 1st video.
    My favourites are the man with the beard & glasses + woman (tattooed eyebrows) in the car: speak with total authority on subjects they know very little about!
    Aljazeera English is doing a great job. Most of their programmes are varied & enjoyable.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Wow Mohammad what does that have to do with the topic?

    I think most of the openions in the video are silly…

  • The only reason I ask is because I think it is a huge factor in the way many of the people in the video form their opinions. Also, the question popped into mind when they asked the “tribal” question, which made me think they are all Jordanian, because correct me if I’m wrong, I don’t think Palestinians in Jordan are part of any tribes. Its not that I am trying to be discriminatory in any way, but it is important to understand where the people come from in order to understand their opinions. Nothing wrong with that.

    That being said, I agree, most of the opinions are quite silly 🙂

  • The Israeli/Jordanian peace deal brought QUESTIONABLE approval from the international community at the cost of local disapproval and disappointment. Enough of Arab authoritarian regimes who represent less than 1% of the communities voice.

  • @mohammad: i wouldn’t know how to answer that question but since the video was shot in Amman, and the majority of the city’s residents are Jordanians of Palestinian origin, it stands to reason that you can make certain assumption about origins. But they remain assumptions. That said, I highly doubt the answers would’ve been any different had they been trans-jordanians. Especially with regards to tribalism, as many Jordanian’s of Palestinian origin are part of tribes, most of which exist across both banks in some shape or form.

    @fares: actually the treaty itself received a wide range of local support from the masses. polls at the time showed that the majority were in favor of a peace treaty with israel. popular opinion declined dramatically after rabin was killed and, well, everything went downhill peace-wise from there.

    as for your last statement about “less than 1% of the communities voice”…that’s incredibly questionable for me. i would argue that the constituency that supports the regime is actually a majority. anyone who works on the grassroots level here knows this.

  • I disagree…I think answers would have been different depending on the origin of the person especially when it came to questions about the peace treaty and the Palestinian Authority. I personally think their opinions should not differ as they are the same people only divided by lines the British devised. But in reality, their viewpoints are different and no one can deny that.

  • Nas.. my apologies for making suck generalizations. I am in no position to contest facts. Didnt actually realize the treaty was that popular!

  • wow.

    i really need to start a english language institute to teach people speak proper english.

    some BEOBLE were funny no offence.

  • Actually, I thought the people were beautiful and spoke wonderful English. Of course, as a Jew and an Israeli it really hurt me to hear that the woman (and I am sure others) seriously thinks that Israel controls the world. Israel barely controls its own borders, how can we own/control the world? And if we were so powerful, how come we have so much trouble?
    I honestly don’t know much about the Israeli/Jordanian peace agreement to be able to present or argue facts. I have heard before that Israel did not fulfill its part of the agreement as far as water was concerned, and if that is true it saddens and disappoints me. That it sends polluted water to Jordan, however, sounds more like a modern day blood libel to me (reminds me that Suha Arafat made the same claim when Hillary Clinton came to visit the Palestinian Authority way back when she was first lady, and was later in big trouble when Hillary absent mindedly nodded since she obviously did not understand Arabic and therefore had no idea what Suha was really saying…)
    Oh, and Israel did not “take” Eilat, Eilat was always on the Israeli side (within the 1967 borders).
    To me, here is the bottom line: Many Israelis are also very disappointed with the chilli “peace” coming from Egypt, even after Israel signed a peace agreement with it and gave back a huge chunk of land, but isn’t the bottom line that we are no longer at war?

  • hello neighbor.

    “seriously thinks that Israel controls the world. Israel barely controls its own borders, how can we own/control the world? And if we were so powerful, how come we have so much trouble? ”

    either you dont know politics or you dont know what are you talking about.
    its not the state of israel who controls the world, they are politicians/media heads. or corporate figures around the world who have a big impact on the policis of the country that their enterprises exist in, surprisingly alot of them happen to be jewish people who share the same views with the state of israel.

    as we know these days the US is currently the most influential country on the global stage, look inside americas major powers, the media (including hollywood), the economy, and politics. you will notice alot of jewish footprints along the way.
    do i need to talk about america’s Vetos against anything that harms israel’s interests during UN assembly meetings?

    your government isnt interested in peace, or at least live with palestians under one roof.
    they interested in throwing the west bank at jordan. while jordan is in a economic misery.

  • Tero,
    thank you for your comments. However, to announce that Jews/Israelis own the world just because there are many Jews in Hollywood, is akin to determining that all Arabs are terrorists since all the suicide bombers were Arabs.
    It’s funny that you mention Hollywood, by the way, because if you are talking about Steve Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, you would know that they are left wingers and have voiced concerns and disagreement with right wing Israeli and American politics.
    Regarding the Israeli government (at least the current one), many Israelis are disappointed in it, and readers of the Israeli major newspapers can read criticisms of the governments policies every day. THe majority of Israelis oppose the settlements, and are willing to give them up for peace, and many more are now feeling that the Golan heights should also be exchanged for real peace with Syria.
    Why, then, did Israelis elect Bibi and the rest of his right wing, orthodox Jewish government that is making life in Israel continually unbearable for Jews as well as Arabs? Well, the answer to that lies in the answer to Why did the Palestinians elect Hamas in Gaza? When you frighten people with: the whole world is against us, I am the only one who can save you, the enemy understands only the language of force and violence, that’s the government you get.
    As a liberal democrat who voted for Obama I, too, am disappointed with his lack of pressure on Bibi’s government to stop the settlements, and hope for change in his policy.
    Let’s pray for courageous leadership on all sides that is willing to make sacrifices (not human) to achieve peace and prosperity for all their citizens. Inshallah?

  • ethnic cleansing of jerusalem, and tearing down al aqsa mosque. Israel’s policies are not helping the peace process my brother 🙂

    does the government want to rebuild the temple of solomon at aqsa or to find the archaeological remains of it?

  • btw you ignored the rest of my reply and focused on hollywood, i can still argue but since we are talking about politics lets not get into movies.

  • I enjoyed watching the report, although, sadly, I was not surprised by the opinions expressed, and found them rather typical and as you said, not well-informed. What bothered me is that few people made the effort to state that their views are personal opinions, and instead passed their opinions as facts. But I must say that this could be due to the language barrier. I would have preferred if it were done in Arabic, although that’s impossible because the show is obviously in English.

    Generally, I liked the way everyone was rather outspoken and opinionated, and liked their friendly demeanor. Although the excessive use of “they” bothered me; enough with determinism!

    Mohammad, I think that your claims do not make a difference. One of the people in the video is an acquaintance who happens to be Jordanian of Palestinian origins (they own Istiklal Library), and yet he supports the tribal system.

  • @P I think you guys have me misunderstood. I personally am indifferent towards the tribal system. I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion, but when I heard that question, I thought it was more of a Jordanian thing, so I questioned their origins. But I suppose I was wrong in that respect.

    This is my argument: The origins (Palestinian or Jordanian) of a person interviewed would make a difference in the range of opinions with regards to the Palestinian issue.

  • Jordan’s tourism department is NOT doing a good job. For one of the world’s wonders, the price is ridiculous for foreigners. Why do the locals pay so little when they are the ones throwing trash on the ground and making it uncomfortable for tourists (women mostly)?

    And that doctor guy is an idiot.

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