Sat. Dec 9th, 2023

For almost 30 years, Amman has been at peace with its Israeli neighbor. But the conflict in Gaza arouses the anger of part of its population, more than half of which is of Palestinian origin.

Jordan faces the “difficult balance” posed by the ongoing war; Gaza | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Jude Khalili, an Amman resident whose mother is Palestinian, proudly displays her support for Gaza.

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On Jude Khalili's cell phone case, a sticker in the colors of the Palestinian flag is proudly displayed. Even though she was not born in the Palestinian territories, the young woman feels personally affected by the conflict in Gaza.

Jude gets his Palestinian heritage from his mother, born in what is now the West Bank. She left this territory in 1967, due to the Israeli occupation which followed the Six Day War, won by the Jewish state.

The young woman, who is now based in Amman and who lived for a few years in Montreal, had the opportunity to stay with her mother in the West Bank on a few occasions.

It makes me very uncomfortable. I feel the tension in the air. We see it on the road, with the wall and the settlements. Many people feel sad. In my case, it's anger, explains Jude Khalili, who regularly participates in pro-Palestinian demonstrations organized in the streets of Amman, the capital of Jordan.

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For more than a month, numerous demonstrations in support of Gaza have been organized in Amman, the capital of Jordan.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Jude is not the only Jordanian to loudly claim her Palestinian roots. According to Human Rights Watch, more than half of the kingdom's population is of Palestinian origin. The concentration would be even higher in Amman.

If some Palestinians, who still live in refugee camps in Jordan, still do not have nationality , many of them have been naturalized over the years.

Jalal Al Husseini, a researcher at the French Institute in the Middle East, believes that this demographic reality has an impact on the country's political considerations regarding the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

We have to manage this somewhat fragile balance, he believes.

According to the expert, based in Amman, the Jordanian authorities must let the population express themselves and express their own dissatisfaction with what is happening in Gaza, while not affecting the vital interests of the country which are, despite everything, to maintain a link with Israel.

By signing a peace agreement with Tel Aviv in 1994, Jordan became one of the first Arab countries, after Egypt, to have normalized their relations with Israel.

Jordan benefits in terms of water, tourism and certain economic agreements, underlines researcher Jalal Al Husseini.

However, since the Hamas attacks on October 7 and the Israeli offensive that followed in Gaza, representatives of the kingdom, an important ally of Washington in the region, have raised their voice in relation to their Israeli neighbor.

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In 1994, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin signed a peace agreement with Jordanian Prime Minister Abdelsalam Majali, in the presence of US President Bill Clinton.

In rare media appearances, Queen Rania, herself born in Kuwait to Palestinian parents, has for example denounced the silence of Western countries regarding the impacts of the war led by Israel.

Saying she was shocked by the attacks carried out by Hamas on October 7, the sovereign denounced on the airwaves of the American network CNN a lack of equivalent condemnation compared to what is currently happening in Gaza .

In addition to recalling its ambassador to Tel Aviv, Amman announced this week that it was withdrawing from an agreement providing for Jordan to provide solar energy to Israel in exchange for desalinated water.

According to the Al Jazeera network, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi accused Israel of pushing the entire region to hell and will have to suffer the consequences.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">This same minister had already warned the Israeli government a few weeks ago that the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, had set a line not to be crossed in the conflict: the displacement of the population of Gaza.

According to researcher Jalal Al Husseini, beyond the challenge that welcoming displaced Palestinians would present in a country which already welcomes hundreds of thousands of refugees from the Palestinian territories, d 'Iraq and Syria, the Jordanian authorities fear the symbol that such a situation would represent.

Amman fights the idea that Jordan is ultimately a surrogate country for Palestinians, says Jalal Al Husseini. According to the UN, the kingdom hosts 40% of Palestinian refugees established in the Middle East.

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Former Jordanian Foreign Minister Jawad Anani fears the impact of the Gaza war in the Arab world.

Even before the war, the relationship between Jordan and the Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu had become very complicated and very hostile, former Jordanian Foreign Minister Jawad Anani explains to Radio-Canada.

This man, who was chief negotiator of the peace treaty between Amman and Tel Aviv, fears that the war will further damage relations and have impacts on longer term within civil society in Jordan and other countries in the Arab world.

This puts everyone seeking peace in a very difficult position because the war is radicalizing Arab public opinion.

A quote from Jawad Anani, former foreign minister of Jordan

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Jordanians take part in volunteer campaign to send food to Gaza residents.

These days, many Jordanians are trying to do their part by donating or volunteering, for example by collecting food for the civilian populations of Gaza. But some, like Jude Khalili, want to go further and do not hesitate to express their discontent.

I think that my generation is more radical than the previous, recognizes the young woman, who does not hide her criticism of the role played by many Arab countries in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

If your country doesn't do what you ask him to do, who will? she asks herself.

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