Pro-Peace Jordanian Newspaper Hits Newsstands amid Opposition
A recently-published newspaper which promotes Jordan-Israeli peace was forced to print outside the kingdom because of opposition at home, a newspaper spokesman said Sunday.
And after one edition, it is facing accusations of having deviated from the terms of its license.
"We printed in Ramallah because we faced difficulties in Jordan where in the eyes of many people, we are a newspaper endorsing normalization with Israel," Al-Nafiz Wahid Al-Abbushi of Sawt al-Salam (Voice of Peace) told AFP.
Abbushi, the public relations spokesman for the Arabic-language newspaper, stressed that the weekly publication was devoted to "promoting the economy in Jordan".
The head of licensing at the state-run Department of Press and Publications, Nabil Momani, said the newspaper had a permit only for a specialized publication.
"They received a license to print a specialized publication about economic development in Jordan under the name Sawt al-Salam," Momani told AFP, adding however that the paper had not kept to the terms of the license.
The first edition dated September 10 carries more political than economic articles, with most of them promoting peace with Israel and denouncing Arab and Jordanian efforts to cripple normalization with the Jewish state.
Jordanian senator Marwan Dudin -- a former cabinet minister who took part in Jordan-Israeli peace negotiations -- says in an interview that peace between Israel and Syria will "quieten" those opposed to normalization.
Sawt al-Arab, which printed 20,000 copies, carries advertisements for a restaurant in Jaffa, Israel, and a travel agency in Tel Aviv.
Israeli embassy spokesman Roey Gilad said there was "no official Israeli money in the newspaper," while describing the publication of Sawt al-Salam as "a positive step" in the lukewarm Jordanian-Israeli ties.
Relations between Israel and Jordan have failed to take off completely since the two countries signed a peace treaty in 1994 amid staunch opposition by several groups, including the professional trade unions and the Jordan press association, against normalization.
Jordanian Prime Minister Ali Abu Ragheb told union chiefs at the end of August that opposition by many Jordanians to normalize ties with Israel was a political and economic "burden" for the kingdom - AMMAN (AFP)
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