Jordanian House Speaker Atef Tarawneh has declared that the Jordanian parliament is against the peace treaty with Israel.
“The Jordanian parliament is an independent authority which represents the Jordanian people. Its opinion toward the peace treaty with Israel is different in essence from the government’s position,” Tarawneh told the London-based news channel Al-Ghad on Friday. He was discussing his decision to ban an Israeli delegation from the 2016 Women in Parliaments Global Forum, which took place in Amman last week.
However, it was not clear how much weight Tarawneh’s view carries.
“This is a kind of propaganda, the parliamentary elections in Jordan will take place within six months,” Dr. Abdullah Sawalha, director of the Amman-based Center for Israel Studies, told The Jerusalem Post.
“Unfortunately, the more hostile to Israel you are the more popular you become,” he added.
The situation in Jordan seems to parallel that of Egypt, the only other Arab country that has a peace treaty with Israel. In both cases, popular sentiment is hostile to Israel, but the government understands that peace with Israel is in the national interest of Egypt and Jordan, respectively. Security cooperation and economic ties with Israel continue despite its unpopularity with the masses.
David Schenker, an expert on Jordan and director of the Program on Arab Politics at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy observed: “With 13.5 percent unemployment, 30% among the youth, 1.4 million Syrian refugees, a $2 billion deficit and an increasing threat of terrorism, you’d think the Jordanian parliament would have more important matters to deal with.”