Jordanian Prime Minster Ali Abul Ragheb has warned that the activities of certain parties and professional associations, be it intentional or not, are harmful to the Kingdom's economy and national unity, the Jordan news agency, Petra, reported on Tuesday. Abul Ragheb's remarks came during a meeting Monday evening with members of the Jordanian National Conference (JNC), which includes representatives of political parties and professional associations.
Petra said the premier told attendants that no authority or law superceded the authority of the state and referred to “attempts by certain forces to proclaim themselves without executive, legislative or legal right.” It said he questioned the practice of publicly identifying “normalizers” with Israel, and said such practices are detrimental to national industry and individuals who could lose their jobs.
He reportedly said that parties' role is to unite and join forces to strengthen the Kingdom's march in the face of the challenges facing the entire region. “The biggest challenge in the upcoming phase lies in keeping Jordan and its national fabric strong in the face of the rough circumstances,” he added.
The associations and political activists have been busy preparing lists of “normalizers” for the past several months. However, due to “pressure” on them not to publish, the lists have not been unveiled.
“The premier said there was no need for these lists and asked that they not be released,” said Hani Dahleh, a lawyer and human rights activist who attended Monday's meeting. He said that parties and associations did not answer to the government on such matters and should be free and independent to make such a decision.
“While the government is upset and bothered by the issue of normalization and the lists, we believe that fighting normalization agrees with our nation's cause and principles,” said Hamza Mansour, a JNC member and the spokesman of the Islamic Action Front party. “We are not the government's echo or employees... we merely practice in accordance with our conscience,” he said.
According to Mansour and Hashd Party Secretary General Salem Nahhas, political parties' decision to unveil the blacklist, as it has come to be known, falls under the jurisdiction of the executive committee of the 1994 National Conference to Protect the Nation and Combat Normalization.
The committee has not decided or approved the unveiling of such lists, party members said. “Whatever the executive committee decides we abide by, but as a party we are against normalization,” Nahhas said.
In the meantime, JNC members who met with Abul Ragheb on Monday said viewpoints were exchanged, but no positive results were expected. “The meeting was a repetition of all previous ones held with previous governments in which we discussed several pressing issues that concern Jordanian citizens,” said Mansour. “I think it (the meeting) is useless,” he added.
Mansour told the Jordan Times that issues discussed included the Kingdom's economic situation in general and the recently enforced value added tax and the potential oil price hike in specific.
Other topics of discussion included public freedoms and recent government measures against Jordanians who participated in anti-Israeli demonstrations during the first months of Al Aqsa Intifada.
“We spoke of the arrests and use of force against citizens, including harassment at border points,” Mansour said. “We also expressed our opinion on the right of return of Palestinian refugees and our refusal of [the refugees'] settlement and compensation, as well as efforts to support the Intifada,” he added.
According to Petra, Abul Ragheb explained the government's position on all the discussed issues saying the living standards of citizens remains a major concern. “Unfortunately the prospects for agreement are very narrow and the government's stance is an explanatory one,” Mansour said.
“The meeting was positive in the fact that we exchanged our view points on crucial matters,” said Nahhas, adding that the JNC also asked for the formation of a public fund to support of the Intifada. — ( Jordan Times )
By Alia Shukri Hamzeh
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )