Jordanians take to streets calling for real political reform

AMMAN: Hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated across the country on Friday to press their demand for real political reform, including meaningful revision of the constitution.The demonstrations were staged this Friday under the slogan “The people: The source of powers” and meant to coincide with the lower house’s debate of amendments recently proposed to the constitution by a royal panel, and which were rejected by the opposition as inadequate.Protesters also called for the closure of the Israeli Embassy in Amman and lashed out at the US Embassy in Amman for allegedly supporting the creation of an “alternative homeland” for Palestinians in Jordan.

Dozens of activists staged a protest outside the Grand Husseini Mosque in central Amman after Friday prayers.Similar demonstrations were also reported in the cities of Thiban, Tafileh, Salt, Karak, Jerash and Irbid, witnesses said.Meanwhile, according to Reuters Israel’s ambassador to Jordan returned to Amman on Friday after he was temporarily withdrawn over fears that demonstrations outside the embassy would turn violent, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.Hundreds of Jordanian protesters demanded on Thursday their government close the mission and scrap a peace treaty with Israel. Police blocked roads to the embassy complex to prevent the demonstrators from marching to the heavily protected site, the Reuters said.

Israel decided to pull out ambassador Daniel Nevo after crowds stormed its embassy in Cairo last Saturday, forcing most of its diplomats to flee Egypt.Jordan has long maintained close security cooperation with Israel but has criticized Israeli treatment of Palestinians and fears a spillover of violence if Israel does not make peace with the Palestinians.Jordan’s King Abdallah was widely quoted as saying earlier this week that Jordan and the Palestinians were now in a stronger position than Israel, telling a group of academics that the Arab uprisings this year had weakened Israel’s position.Israel’s Haaertz newspaper reported on Friday that his unusually strong rebuke of the Jewish state was provoked by comments from an Israeli major general, Uzi Dayan, who told a conference on Sunday that Jordan should absorb the West Bank and Gaza Strip, doing away with the notion of a Palestinian state. – Arabnews