Egypt, Jordan Agree On Importance Of Resuming Negotiations For A Palestinian State

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT AND REUTERS NEWS)

Middle East

Egypt, Jordan Agree on Importance of Resuming Negotiations for a Palestinian State

Ayman al-Safadi, Reuters

Cairo- Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry and his Jordanian counterpart Ayman al-Safadi met for three hours in Cairo on Thursday to discuss crises and recent challenges facing the Arab region.

“It’s time to clear up the Arab atmosphere and provide a minimum of consensus on resolutions issued by the Amman summit, to deal with all crises, conflict, war and terrorism tearing the region apart,” said Safadi.

He also pointed to the possibility of reaching Arab unanimity, despite existing differences in a desire “to spare the region further devastation threatening security and stability of Arab states.”

The two FMs held a press conference following talks in Cairo to discuss the latest developments in the region, including the Palestinian peace process and Egyptian-Jordanian relations.

Safadi, who arrived in Cairo early Thursday, hoped the upcoming Arab League summit to be held in March in Amman would enhance joint Arab action in a way that improves capability of addressing crises affecting the Arab world.

Safadi replied to a Syria question with “Jordan is taking part in Astana’s Syria peace talks as an observer and supports any effort that aims at reaching a ceasefire across Syria, especially in the southern region closer to Jordan’s northern border.”

The Astana talks are not an alternative to the Geneva efforts that form the main framework of reaching a political solution to the Syrian conflict, the minister highlighted.

He also said that discussions with Shokry addressed the major challenges facing the Arab world and ways to address them, underlining Cairo’s important role in enhancing the regional stability and security.

Jordanian-Egyptian consultation and coordination not only aim at serving bilateral relations, but also seek to serve the interests of the Arab nation and its peoples to enhance joint Arab action and maintain pan-Arab security, Safadi stressed.

The minister also highlighted the significance of increasing the level of coordination among Arab countries to find solutions to regional crises, especially the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories, the Syrian war and the developments in the Libyan arena.

For his part, Shokry expressed hope that the Arab summit will boost joint Arab action and serve Arab national security, voicing Cairo’s readiness to help Amman in organizing the summit.

Jordan Executes 15 Terrorists

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Middle East

Jordan Executes 15 Terrorists

Jordan

Amman – Jordan executed 15 people on Saturday morning, including 10 convicted on terrorism charges, according to government spokesman Mohammad al-Momani.

Momani told state media that those executed included those involved in the “Irbid terror cell”, and the terror attack against the General Intelligence Department office in Baqaa refugee camp.

Other crimes included the assassination of columnist Nahed Hattar, terror bomb attack on Jordan’s Embassy in Baghdad in 2003, and the terrorist attack against foreign tourists visiting the Roman amphitheater in Amman.

The men were hanged at Swaqa Prison.

Five of the criminals were involved in an assault by security forces on a militant hideout by suspected ISIS militants in Irbid city in the same year that led to the death of seven militants and one police officer in 2016. They were: Ashraf Beshtawi, Fadi Beshtawi, Imad Delki, Faraj al-Sharif, and Mohammed Delki.

Mahmoud Hussein Masharfa was the executor of the terrorist attack in June 2016 against the General Intelligence Department office in Baqaa refugee camp.

Riyad Ismail Abdullah was executed for assassinating Hattar in September 2016. While, Muammar al-Jaghbir was executed after his conviction in terror bomb attack on Jordan’s Embassy in Baghdad in 2003.

Nabil Ahmad al-Jaoura was convicted for the terrorist attack against foreign tourists visiting the Roman amphitheater in Amman which led to the death of a British tourist in 2006.

Momani added: “This is an attempt to bring justice to the victims of those terrorists who threatened our national security. Anyone who will dare engage in terrorist activities against Jordan will face the same destiny.”

Human rights group Amnesty International condemned the executions by hanging saying they were carried out in secrecy and without transparency.

Samah Hadid, deputy director at Amnesty International’s Beirut regional office, said, “The horrific scale and secrecy around these executions is shocking.”

Amnesty is against capital punishment regardless of the criminal, his crime or whether he was innocent or not, and the execution method.

Amnesty said in a statement earlier: “Jordan had for years been a leading example in a region where recourse to the death penalty is all too frequent.”

In December 2014, 11 men were executed after the capital punishment had been frozen in Jordan since March 2006.

In February 2015, Jordan executed Sajida Rishawi and Ziad al-Karboli. The two inmates were hanged a day after the release of a video showing the killing of Jordanian pilot Muath Kasasbeh by ISIS.

Rishawi was convicted by the State Security Court in September 2006 of plotting terror attacks against three hotels in Amman in November 2005, which had left more than 60 people dead and around 90 injured.

Karboli was convicted of killing a Jordanian truck driver in Iraq in September 2005, possessing explosives as well as belonging to an illegal al-Qaeda-affiliated organization called Tawhid and Jihad.

Over 100 people, including around 10 women, are currently on death row in Jordan.

Jordan is part of the US-led coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Jordan’s Queen Rania Asks For More Help For War Refugees

(This article is courtesy of the Jordan Times of Amman)

Queen Rania calls for collective global response to refugee crisis during Lesbos visit

Queen Rania calls for collective global response to refugee crisis during Lesbos visit

By JT – Apr 25,2016 – Last updated at Apr 25,2016

Amman — Her Majesty Queen Rania on Monday called for a collective global response to the growing refugee crisis, explaining that its impact is much greater than any one country or any one region’s capacity to cope.

The Queen made these statements during a visit to the Kara Tepe Refugee Camp on the Greek island of Lesbos in her capacity as advocate for the International Rescue Committee (IRC), where she also met with several refugees, according to a statement from Her Majesty’s office.

“This is an exceptional crisis, and it requires an exceptional response. It requires a response that is collective and that is value-based, a response that is built on burden sharing not burden shifting,” she said.

Queen Rania explained that responsibility for the refugee crisis cannot be defined by geography and cannot be contained in Europe or the Middle East.

“Refugees are not numbers. They are human beings like you and I, except they have seen unspeakable horror and have experienced unthinkable tragedy and hardship. They risked everything, their families, their possessions just to make it to safety,” she said.

“We need to bring humanity and compassion back into the narrative, because this crisis is about people not borders and barriers. It’s about human dignity not deals,” Her Majesty stressed.

In reference to stories she heard from the refugees she said: “It’s very difficult for me to decide which story is more harrowing than the other because each one seems to be an incredible tragedy.”

“These people have gone from suffering to suffering, and the one theme that I keep hearing time and time again is that if they had a choice, they would be back in their homes.”

The Queen also highlighted the urgent need to find legal and safe alternatives for refugees, who have fled their war-ravaged countries and are struggling to seek asylum. “We need to find legal alternatives and effective pathways to safety, and also look for more sustainable long-term solutions to this crisis.”

Queen Rania said many humanitarian agencies are concerned about the ramifications of the EU-Turkey deal. She warned that desperate refugees will not stop trying to reach safety and security in Europe, adding that new and dangerous smuggler routes were already expanding.

She said donor support must be increased for over-stretched humanitarian organisations like the IRC and countless others “that have become the only lifeline for refugees at a time of limited asylum opportunities”.

Her Majesty also thanked the Greek government and people, who have shown “remarkable empathy and kindness towards refugees” despite six years of economic hardship.

While at the camp, Lesbos Mayor Spyros Galinos briefed the Queen about the plight of thousands of refugees on the island, which is considered the gateway to mainland Europe.

Accompanying Her Majesty on the visit, IRC Country Director Panos Navrozidis said: “For refugees, Her Majesty Queen Rania’s visit today reassured them that they are not alone. There are many people across the world who care deeply for their plight and are working to ensure a better, safer future for them and for their families.”

Navrozidis briefed the Queen on the IRC’s efforts in providing legal counsel to the refugees about their rights. He also showed her IRC’s water, sanitation, and hygiene services inside the camp, which is currently hosting over 950 people.

Queen Rania met with two Syrian families and one Afghan family, who described the stress they are under while anxiously waiting for news about the fate of their asylum applications. Some said they sold all their belongings in order to flee Daesh-controlled territory in Syria.

She also met with a group of Syrian women, who told her about the fear and grief they have experienced. Two of the women lost their husbands, who drowned when their boat capsized while trying to get to Lesbos from Turkey last month.

The Queen also joined refugee and local children participating in a mural painting activity.

On March 23, Her Majesty visited IRC’s operations in the Jordanian town of Ramtha, some 90km north of Amman, where the organisation provides health and protection services, including psychological support for Syrian women traumatized by war.

The IRC began its operations in Lesbos in July 2015, delivering clean water and sanitation in several refugee transit sites, and providing refugees with much-needed information about the registration process. 

The organisation also continues to provide specialized services to the most vulnerable refugees, including people with limited mobility and children separated from their families.
The IRC also provides healthcare, infrastructure, learning and economic support to people in 40 countries across the world, with special programs focusing on the needs of women and children.

Every year, the IRC resettle’s thousands of refugees in the US.

Jordan: Whole Family Clans Forced To Move Because One Member Commits A Crime

(This article is courtesy of the Jordan Times of Amman)

Forced relocations raise doubts over Jordan’s tribal customs

Forced relocation’s raise doubts over Jordan’s tribal customs

By AP – Aug 24,2016 – Last updated at Aug 24,2016

 

In this August 5 photo, Asma Dawaghreh poses for a photo at her apartment in Irbid, Jordan. Her family is one of dozens uprooted every year in the Kingdom under the tribal practice of jalwa‌ — Arabic for forced relocation‌ — in which an entire clan can be forced to relocate because of a crime committed by a family member (AP photo by Layla K. Quran)

IRBID  — It was four in the morning when Asma Dawaghreh fled her home with her sick husband and six children. With nothing but the loose change in her pockets, she packed her family into a car and left under the cover of darkness.

Her family is one of dozens uprooted every year in the Kingdom under the tribal practice of “jalwa”— Arabic for “eviction”— in which an entire clan can be forced to relocate because of a crime committed by a family member.

In Dawaghreh’s case, a nephew on her husband’s side of the family stabbed his cousin to death, forcing three-dozen relatives to flee their village in northern Jordan.

The Dawaghrehs fled pre-emptive, fearing revenge killings, and then found that they were barred from returning. In exile, they were pressured into selling their supermarket, the family’s source of income.

Three years on, they have moved home six times and are increasingly impoverished.

“I can’t even afford to buy bread now. What is my crime? What is my son’s crime … my husband’s crime?” said the 40-year-old, speaking in the family’s latest refuge, a run-down apartment in the northern city of Irbid. “We had no business in this.”

Jalwa predates the 1946 founding of modern Jordan. It is rooted in tribal tradition, under which the practice was applied in cases of murder or rape when the assailant and the victim lived in the same area.

Although jalwa is not written into Jordanian civil law, the practice continues unchallenged — and sometimes with the support of civil institutions — because of the country’s strong tribal influence. Over the years, tribal leaders and local authorities have arranged the forced relocation of hundreds of people across the country. In some cases, relatives of the attacker as distant as a fifth cousin have had to move.

Supporters say forced relocation prevents blood feuds between tribes, while critics denounce it as collective punishment.

The government is now trying to scale back the practice, proposing to limit forced relocation to the perpetrator and his immediate family. The initial period of banishment would be one year, with the possibility of extension.

The proposed amendment was adopted by the Cabinet earlier this year. It now awaits approval by Parliament and a signature by the King. If the amendment is passed, it will be the first time jalwa is enshrined in civil law.

An Interior Ministry official in charge of tribal affairs said the government is trying to adapt tribal law to modern times.

Jordanians have homes and jobs, and can’t just pack up tents and move to a different area, as during their nomadic past, said the official, Turki Akho Ersheidah. “We have to implement these amendments to adapt to the 21st century.”

Jalwa is still being practiced, to varying degrees, across the Middle East, with forced relocation more common in rural areas than in cities. Although some governments have tried to curb the practice — either through outright bans or by negotiating with tribes — the tradition remains powerful. This is particularly true in countries like Yemen, where the state has deteriorated.

Jordan is unusual because of the strong tribal influence on the government.

In one high-profile murder case, hundreds of people were forced to leave the southern Jordanian town of Karak earlier this year in a jalwa deal negotiated by Deputy Prime Minister Mohammed Thneibat. As part of the agreement, the victim’s clan reserved the right to kill any members of the assailant’s family if they returned to the community, local media said at the time.

Constitutional law expert Omar Jazi said jalwa amounts to collective punishment and violates the constitution.

“You cannot deprive anyone of his or her constitutional right, that can’t be tolerated,” he said. “Jalwa does not make sense within a civic society, within the rule of law and within the type of society we are living in.”

Some tribal leaders argue that reforms would be difficult to carry out and that Jordanians prefer the swift justice of tribal law.

“Civil law is weak, it could take up to six years or more for a court case to proceed,” said Sheikh Hayel Al Hadeed, a tribal leader from the capital, Amman.

The plight of the Dawaghreh family illustrates the practical difficulties of enforcing jalwa in modern times.

Before the eviction, the family lived with other clan members in an apartment complex in a village south of Irbid. Dawaghreh asked that the name of the community be withheld, to avoid causing harm to relatives through renewed public attention.

They fled their home in 2013, almost immediately after receiving a call from a relative informing them of the killing.

A year later, some members of the assailant’s clan reached a financial settlement with the victim’s family, including payment of 50,000 dinars ($70,000) in blood money.

In theory, the deal enabled them to return — but Dawaghreh said she had been pressured to sell their supermarket to the victim’s family.

As a result, the family bounced from apartment to apartment, struggling to pay rent.

Paint peels from the cracked walls of her current home in Irbid. Dawaghreh cooks or babysits to make money. Her husband, who has cancer, works as a security guard.

Dawaghreh wants jalwa abolished, but is not hopeful. “No one can interfere in the jalwa of the tribes, not the government, not the members of parliament … not the ministries, nobody.”

Jordan Constitution Concerning Tribal Justice System

(This article is courtesy of the Jordan Times of Amman)

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

Cabinet amends law to limit scope of ‘tribal justice system’

By JT – Sep 01,2016 – Last updated at Sep 01,2016

AMMAN — The Cabinet on Thursday approved a draft law amending the 2016 Crime Prevention Law, which targeted provisions governing controversial tribal customs like Jalwa (forced relocation), Diyeh (blood money) and administrative governors’ authorities related to these affairs.

The law will be sent to the next Lower House, which will convene after the September 20 elections, for endorsement as stipulated in the Constitution, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

“Jalwa”, a term first coined by tribes, entails the forced relocation of a clan if one of its members murders someone or commits other serious crimes like rape, in a bid to avoid friction between the two tribes, both of the victim’s and the murderer’s, if they were living in the same area.

Interior Minister Salameh Hammad has recently held several meetings with tribal and religious leaders, along with jurists, from across the Kingdom.

The figures reached an understanding that regulates tribal customs and norms and limits tribal cases that fall under the Crime Prevention Law to homicide, honor and cases when members of the tribes involved in the dispute do not honour pledges made on their behalf by mediators.

Under the amending law, jalwa should be limited to the murderer, his father and sons, and for a period not exceeding one year, with the possibility of renewing it if deemed necessary by the concerned administrative governor. The proposed version of the law also stipulates that jalwa should be made from one district to another within the same governorate.

The law also tasks the chief Islamic justice with deciding the value of diyeh in murder cases that end with reconciliation, and levies on those parties in tribal disputes who dishonor pledges made by mediators to pay mediators, or guarantors of the deals made, a fine of no less than JD50,000 in compensation for the damage caused to their reputation.

The administrative governor, according to the amendments, has the power to oversee all the tribal procedures included in this law, Petra added.

The amendments aim at regulating tribal customs and norms related to conflicts and cases of jalwa, atwah (a tribal agreement that functions as a temporary conciliation between conflicting parties until the civic law decides on the case) and diyeh, according to Petra.

The law is meant to avoid exaggerated practices that may cause social problems as a result of relocating families away from their places of residence, which normally results in damage to innocent families’ members, who might lose their jobs, education opportunities or businesses.