Tag Archives: Jordan

Dead Sea Scrolls New Controversy

There are times when Israel and Palestinian leaders display a unique ability to create problems where none really exist. During the time period 1947-1956 the famous Dead Sea scrolls were uncovered in caves near the Dead Sea. These are scrolls written in Hebrew and Aramic which are an important aspect of Jewish history, and to some extent to Christian history since they present the thinking and ideas of the ancestors of Jewish people. Canada was to be the scene of an exhibit of the scrolls but it has created a new controversy since Palestinians claim the scrolls belong to them and were taken illegally by Israel when they took over east Jerusalem.

Of course, Palestinian authorities fail to mention that when Jordan occupied east Jerusalem and the area around it, they destroyed synagogues and Jewish cemeteries. The Jordanians were hardly the best protector of ancient artifacts. The scrolls deal with the history of Jews and have nothing to do with the history of Arabs or the Muslim religion. Surely, there are other issues to discuss and have arguments about regarding opposing ideas.

A View From Jordan On Gaza Conflict

Dan Williams, writing in The Jordan Times from OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, termed Israel’s Gaza attacks as having exacted an “unprecedented tool on Palestinian lives and infrastructure” that “aims to pummel Hamas Islamists into a truce on terms more favorable to the Jewish state’s long term diplomatic goals.” According to Williams, “worried foreign powers have urged the resumption of an Egyptian-brokered truce wichh Hamas, chafing at on ongoing Gaza blockade, called off on December 19. The Israelis have other plans.” He believes Israel does not simply want “quiet” in the region but an “absolute quiet” that means the end of Hamas rocket attacks. He believes, despite the carnage caused by air attacks, Hamas “still sounds undeterred.” He quotes Hamas leader, Ismail Haniyey, “even if they hang us and our blood spreads on the streets of Gaza, and even if our bodies are dismembered… we will not make concessions and we will not retreat.”

According to Williams, he was told by an Israel officials, “Hamas knows our demands, and there’s no use to talking about them publicly. Until Hamas signals that it’s ready to back down, all we can do i to continue placing a hefty price tag on its rocket attacks.”

He believes one way out of the situation is that Egypt, could “propose that Hamas submit to Abbas, in exchange for which Israel would end the Gaza offensive and ease economic restrictions on the territory.”

We offer these remarks without any editorial comment on our part.

Dishonor Of Honor Killings

An eighteen year old girl named Maha decided she wanted to cease being involved in prostitution that her family insisted she pursue in order to earn money. Her brother killed Maha in the name of defending his family’s “honor” against her dishonor. It is difficult to ascertain the actual number of “honor killings” in Jordan but some estimate it might range between 15 to 20 a year. Maha’s brother was a drug addict who ran the family’s prostitution ring. After killing his sister, he turned himself in blaming his sister’s behavior for his need to kill her. The brother was sentenced to a two year jail sentence for the murder. Judge Jehad Oteibi, says many such “honor killings” are simply an excuse to cover up other factors.

Rights Watch believes 95% of women killed in Jordan in 1997 were subsequently proved not to have been guilty of any sexual misconduct. Their studies reveal male judges display more empathy for the murderer than to the female who is murdered. According to Article 340 of the penal code, a defendant who “surprises is wife or any close female relative” in an act of adultery may invoke a defense of “crime of honor” if they kill the woman.

One can only wonder if a woman has the right to invoke “honor killing” if she finds her husband in the act of adultery.

Iran Warns Israel – Don’t Attack!

A top Iranian general has warned Israel to avoid taking action which might result in an expansion in military action in the Middle East. General Masoud Jazayeri, said: “Any aggression against Iran will start a world war. The unrestrained greed of the US leadership and global Zionism… is leading the world to the edge of a precipice.” His comments received some support from Jordan King Abdullah who urged Israel to show restraint becaue “Israel doesn’t have the ability to completely destroy the atomic reactor in Iran.” King Abdullah tried to get across the idea that inherent in the aggressive attitude of Iran to the world was a desire to finally be recognized as an important player on the world stage and to be respected.

King Abdullah offers sound advice to Israel which for too long has been trapped in the Bush concept that arms alone can change what happens in the Middle East. Israel has to become more aggressive, but, not on the military stage. It must become more proactive in seeking peace with Palestinian leaders because peace is the best hope for survival of the nation of Israel.

Jordan Newspaper Questions Sudan Genocide Charge

Rami Khouri, writing in the Jordan Times, raises questions about the International Criminal Court decision to charge Sudan President Omar Hassan Bashir with the crime of genocide. He suggests the indictment will result in Arabs wondering “if this is a new form of racism and colonialism that applies different standards of accountability for different countries.” Bashir is accused of masterminding policies to destroy three of the largest ethnic groups in Darfur(the Fur, Masalit, and Zaghawa) by using the armed forces, the Jajaweed mlitias, and the entire government apparatus in an effort to kill civilians.

“But these criminal charges against Arabs in Sudan,” says Khouri, “have to be weighed against three other realities: massive crimes committed against Arabs by their own leaders in other Arab countries; crimes committed by Israel; and, the mass suffering, death, destitution, refugee flows, and other consequences of invading foreign forces– especially the American-led troops in Iraq. Will any of the crimes by Arab, Israeli or American leaders be equally investigated in due course?”

Mr. Khouri validly suggests all who go down the road of using violence should be brought to trial. However, international courts at this juncture in human history simply can not intrude into each and every nation’s immoral behaviors. Which country has not used force and violence in pursuit of its aims–both internally and externally as a society? The Sudan is an example of “genocide” which is defined as the systematic destruction of a group of people. Israel, the United States, Hamas, Hezbollah and others have all used violence, but neither of these entities is engaged in a systematic destruction of a people. Granted, a critic might say, I am quibbling, but international courts simply lack the jurisdiction or resources to deal with all crimes against human dignity.

Jordan Joins Silliness Of Danish Cartoonist Bans

Eleven Danish newspaper reporters, cartoonists and editors have been summoned to appear in a court in Jordan on charges they violated the nation’s laws by ridiculing the Prophet. Jordan in 2006 passed a law, the Jordan Justice Act, which allows the public prosecutor to indict people living in another country who violated the laws of Jordan. The eleven have been charged with blasphemy and engaging in threats against the security and peace of Jordan. A group, “The Prophet Unites Us” which contains members of several Jordanian media organizations is supporting this effort to stifle freedom of speech. If the eleven fail to appear in court, the public prosecutor can contact Interpol and send a warrant for their arrest.

The Danes have not violated any laws in Denmark and are free from being charged with anything unless they wander into Jordan. If other nations accept the Jordan principle that anyone anywhere can be charged with a crime against Jordan then it could result in the King of Jordan being summoned to appear in a Danish court on charges of brutality to prisoners and denying free speech.

Was The Iraq Invasion Worth It?

Gwynne Dwyer, writing in the Jordan Times asks the basic question about the invasion of Iraq: “So, was i tall worthwhile in the end? That is a different question, because the implicit comparison is between the future of the country as it is now and the conditions that reigned five years ago when Saddam Hussein was still in charge. Even that comparison yields an ambiguous answer for Saddam’s Iraq was a secular society where pepple were safe unless they trespassed into politics, and women enjoyed an unusual degree of personal freedom. But it is also the wrong comparison…”

“Saddam was only executed a year ago, so he probably would still be in power today if the United States had not invaded Iraq, but he was not going to live forever. It’s not possible to know what would have followed him had he stayed in power and died a natural death, but would it have involved hundreds of thousands of Iraqis tortured, shot or blown up? Would it have led to the permanent alienation of Sunnis and Shiites? Probably not.”

Dyer believes “Saddam posed no serious threat to his neighbors, as his army was largely destroyed in the first Gulf War of 1991, and never rebuilt(due to sanctions). He posed no danger at all to the United States, since he had absolutely nothing to do with Al Qaeda(as was confirmed by a recently released Pentagon study of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents captured after the US invasion).”

“The real question is what will Iraq be like 20 years from now, and what would it have been like in 20 years if the United States had not invaded. But it can never be answered, because that alternative future was cancelled by the invasion.”

Israel’s Gaza Options-Invade, Annex, Stay On Course?

Kassam rockets continue hitting targets in Israel creatng a large scale morale crisis more than any military or economic problem. Israel cabinet meetings have been filled with angry demands for action. Some wish to continue the present policy of killing Hamas leaders in hope the movement would be left rudderless and confused. According to Saleh Al-naami, writing in Al-Ahram, “leaks to the press suggest that Israel will not stage an invasion of Gaza, at least not in the coming days.” However, the Israel Defense Force has been planning for a massive invasion of Gaza that entails large scale civilian casualties and a potential public relations nightmare. The primary reason for any such invasion would be to topple Hamas, but what comes afterward is the question?

Hamas leader Ahmed Youssef believes the current Israel goal is creation of chaos in Gaza which might serve as a pretext for an armed invasion to restore law and order. It is apparent says, Professor Walid Al-Mudallal, that “the type of limited operations the Isael occupation army waged last year actually strengthened Hamas.” Which options are now available for Israel. Some Arab analysts believe Israel might welcome the annexation by Egypt of Gaza which would get rid of a headache. Others even would support Jordan annexation of the West Bank which would restore conditions to the pre-1967 border.

It is doubtful that Egypt would assume control over Gaza without the active support of Hamas and that appears difficult. In the meantime, the Israel-Bush policy of not talking with Hamas has yet to produce concrete results of peace. Perhaps, the options Israel refuses to consider is to enter into negotiations with Hamas without any preconditions.