Saturday, March 31, 2007

More irrelevance

The “opposition” is dusting off its old issues in preparation for the upcoming elections. After being spared from hearing about “normalization” [with Israel] for the last four years, the drums are again beating on this. Last week, the Bar association held its election; complete with beating up a normalizer (kind of makes you feel secure in the knowledge that we have such strident believers in the rule of law).

Anyway, keeping up the “anti-normalization” theme, the opposition has been holding rallies to send home the message. And last week, the latest victim was Aqel Biltaji. Biltaji is a former minister of tourism and is currently a senator. Anyway, he invited the Israeli ambassador to meet him in the parliament building. They discussed a tourism related conference to be held at Bethlehem University under the sponsorship of the European Union.

The Islamists and other opposition groups seized the opportunity, loudly decrying this, and demanding that Biltaji resign from the senate over this outrage. Saleh Gallab (one of my favorite columnists, no matter what anybody says) ridiculed the whole issue, pointing out that the Jordanian parliament had ratified the peace treaty in the same building.

So, it looks like the new political season will be like the old. Instead of the opposition discussing issues of concern and relevance, we will be treated to the same old slogans. It is not surprising, only depressing.


At 4:22 PM, Blogger Blogger said...

Saleh Gallab (one of my favorite columnists, no matter what anybody says)

Wow, I've never seen that coming!
I don't know what to say...
This guy is a living example of the word "opportunist"

Regarding the Unions, I don't know it's pretty much depressing, though I love it when you see a guy with Afghani gear, and some girl wearing tight low cut jeans climbing the stairs...

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Firas: I am not interested in his past. I am interested in what he says. Too often, people refuse to listen because of prejudice. I find that this is a shame.

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Mohanned said...

I don't blame them, because that is what people want to hear, they want to hear people cursing america and israel, so let them have it til they wake up!!We love to hear firy solgans and everyone in the back shouting"allahu akbar".
One more thing khalaf, there was a report about a khalile guy who sold his house to the settlers, he was arrested in jordan, just to show people that we in jordan are selling 1000s of dunums to isrealis..
Good luck for us..

At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that what Gallab says is very related to his parasitic past. I wonder why he never dare to write his email address?? Call me old fashioned, but i dont think that Gallab (as a journalistic/political phenomena) deserve any respect from a man of your ,so richly earned, calibre. The message in the article you liked was like a prostitute doing it on the balcony telling the virgin student having her first snog that we are both in the same boat. We dont like any form of such outragous behaviour (Ehem.. not really) and there is a difference between a peck on the cheek and the whole of people north of the golan heights passing their gynae exams first time.

Khalafalla 3aleeko

At 9:37 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Mohanned: I doubt that most people are interested in hearing these boring old empty slogans. Most opinion polls suggest that such things are very low on people's lists of priorities.

Anon: Thank you for the kind words. I still think that meeting with Israelis is a non-issue. As for Gallab, he is controvesial, and everybody is entitled to their own opinion.

At 5:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Im not going to sit here and defend the opposition in Jordan, it definetly has its shortcomings, however, the anti-normalization theme that you speak of is a solid belief that a lot of Jordanians strongly support. Why is anti-normalizing considered anti jordanian nowadays? its like calling an anti war american, anti american, only worse, america is actually at war,the anti normalization issue should be handled as a debate, its not a closed case, it has its pros as well as its many cons and treating it as a done deal is really not to the benifit of Jordan, think about the ramifications; economic, social, and political, it should not be treated in a one-dimensional context. When you say that it is not on peoples priority list, do the people realize what this means? lets not forget that Israel was, until recently, an enemy of the state, lets not forget that they have attacked Jordan and killed Jordanians, they still hold Jordanain prisoners in jails, lets also not forget the economic balance between our economy and that of Israel, its not favorable for us. So accelerated normalization with a former enemy is an issue that is not clear cut, you can argue for it or against it, just because the opposition call for it sould not taint the core of the matter.
BTW where can I find the opnions polls you speak of, I am interested to view those and other polls. Thanks in advance

At 7:34 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Markus: Normalization is a phoney emotional issue designed to maximize political clout. It is akin to the issue of "gay marriages", i.e., it rings a strong emotional chord without really being relevent to anybody. It is a way to influence the simple minded with a fake gut issue. Polls consistently show that people are interested in economic issues and corruption. I have written about them a few times, once last December and once the previous December.

If you notice, I really have not said that whoever is anti-normalization is anti-Jordanian. You are putting words in my mouth. Loyal and honest people can argue about it. However, I am against beating up people who disagree with me. I am also against depriving people of their livlihood if they choose to deal with Israelis. This McCarthyism that the unions and the Islamists want to impose on everybody is the epitome of dictatorship. Moreover, it does nothing to imporove anybody's life. Isn't that what politics should be about?

At 7:43 PM, Blogger Mohanned said...

Sa7 lsanak, but about people wanting to hear about the Anti-israel anti-america ponanza you said it yourself in your response to markus, they hit a gut feeling inside the majority of the people, what they see on TV each day makes them want to hear this kind of stuff..But you are 100% right in your analysis..

At 10:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

muhannad, let me sum up your views, Americans and Zionists are innocent and those who don't like them are conspiracy theorists, kill the shiites and iranians, Palestinians go home, islamists are evil. man, you are one weirdo.

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Mohanned said...

Khalaf, I am sorry that I will be using your space, but I have to make my self clear to some people with reading disabilities:
Mohanned point of view:
1-Jordan is an independent country, our political parties have to put the Jordanian interests first, some of Jordan’s interests may not be compatible with the interests of Palestine or even our Arab brothers, the history taught Jordan that it was left on its own when it needed the Arabs most.
2-We have to create a national identity for Jordan, Jordan will welcome anyone who loves Jordan and who is loyal to the country (PEOPLE).
3-The creation of a Palestinian state is critical for Jordan, after the creation of Palestine people would have to choose between the two states and where they want to be.
4-Palestine has enough political parties and armed fractions, Jordan will always support Palestine, and Palestinians are our twins, special ties will be created after the creation of Palestine.
5-Jordanian political parties should focus on the internal situation in Jordan, we have poverty, crime, education, etc…
6-Foreign policy should put Jordan’s interests first.
7-Democracy doesn’t mean the majority rule, it means the rule of people, democracy is not measured by how many seats a party got, it is measured by the rights that are given to the people of our country specially minorities.
8-The party that takes control should be responsible, their actions should not put Jordan in danger.
9-The IAF has their own agenda and their own definition of democracy, they call for democracy but at the same time they silence anyone who stands in their face. The IAF is a political arm for foreign countries; they use religion as a tool not as a goal.
10-Religion is something between an individual and god, times has changed and our interpretations of Islam have to change (Islam is for anytime and anyplace).
11-Education is our only way to change, and change is a process that needs time, our education should focus on scientific research and critical thinking.
12-Corruption is killing Jordan; it should be handled by elected officials whose backgrounds are known to the public.

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Mehdi said...

Hi Khalaf, I hope this email finds you well. My name is Mehdi Alhassani. I am currently a Fulbright fellow in Amman and I wanted to invite you to a conference I am helping put together. Could you please send me your email address so we can talk about it more? You can email me at

Thank you very much and I hope to talk to you soon.

At 6:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to say it's a real shame that someone as smart as yourself adds someone as bigotted as Saleh Al Qallab to his favorites.

Regarding the anti-normalization movement in Jordan. It has always been there even during 1994 when the peace treaty with Israel was struck. It's true that the parliament ratified the treaty, but lets not fall victims in one post to the trap that we often expose in another. That trap is the reality that the Jordanian parliament is nothing but a sham, and I don't believe even a parliament of such incompetence and lack of credibility as that of Jordan was able to produce consensus when it ratified the peace treaty, as I have said earlier, the opposition and its anti-normalization campaign existed since the beginning.

But regardless of all of that, I think it should be well within the accepted norms that political parties shift their policies with time (that is if we want to argue that the opposition really adopted normalization in the past to begin with). It has been over a decade since the peace treaty with Israel was signed. During that decade things have changed, the relationship not only between Israel and Jordan's parliaments (which never took off really) but also between the governments and even state leaders saw some of its worse exchanges of words and condemnations directed against each other either directly or through the use of proxies.

Regarding the main point of the article; irrelevance. Suffice to say what might be irrelevant to one, could be very relevant to a million others. And even though the one might be right and the one million others might be wrong, the numbers win any argument when talking about political campaigning in the nearing of elections.

At 7:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saleh gallab,is a fair man he write for who pay more.
Kateb al tada5ul al saree3.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger Khalaf said...

Hamzeh: I have read your post about Gallab. In the case of the Jordanian prisoners, it is clear thay I disagree . As for the "opposition" delegation that went to Syria, well, I agree, although I wouldn't have questioned the issue of nationality. To be fair, it has nothing to do with biggotry, since Jordanians from both sides of the river went to Syria at the time.

You can call the Jordanian parliament a sham if you want. This does not in any way mean that the IAF or the unions have a right to set up their own laws. I don't remember voting for them to represent me.

Elections are coming up. People will not vote for the "opposition", and they will continue to whine about the "system". They will never concede that their narative in irrelevent. The voters clearly think otherwise.

At 10:30 PM, Blogger Habchawi said...

As long as the peace treaty is in effect it’s legal to “normalize” and they have no right to beat or judge someone because he/she is a “normalizer” and doing business with Israelis. If they don’t like it they can change the law. What do they think it’s the truce of Hudaybiyya?!! Now I am wondering if they took control what would they do first, change the voting to “shura” or change the civil courts to all Islamic courts. Thanks god they are not taking control any time soon….. Unfortunately, for many of you, whatever Gallab is saying is true; your personal feeling toward him doesn’t change this fact. So get over it.

At 12:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair, it has nothing to do with biggotry, since Jordanians from both sides of the river went to Syria at the time.

But my point is exactly that it doesn't matter to a Jordanian citizen's guaranteed rights where his or her family originally comes from as long as he or she is a Jordanian citizen who has the right under constitution to be equal to every other Jordanian under the law. Regardless of the make up of the delegation, Al Qallab's bigorty encompassed all when he decided to give himself the liberty of stripping them of their earned rights by implicitly accusing them of treason and even worse, not belonging!

At 12:31 AM, Blogger Mohanned said...

I am not advocating for gallab, becasue he is exaclty what you stated, but, did he strip them from their citizenship?No, he just talked and they just clapped!!End of story!

At 6:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mohannad, you're right, he didn't, but I bet he wishes he could.

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Mohanned said...

He wishes, I don't think so, he just had to gain some political points, If I recall correctly he was one of the feda2yyeh who tried to overthrow the regime, so he is the last one to talk about loyalty to the regime(at least)..Hamzeh, it just a political game each team wants to gain points thats all,and when it comes to action you see nothing:)


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