Will the Jordanian Parliament Expel the Israeli Ambassador from Amman?

A large majority of Jordanian Members of Parliament (MPs) voted last week to pass a resolution to force the government to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman over Israeli settlers attacks and attempts to occupy the Islamic holy sit Al Aqasa Mosque in Jerusalem.

The resolution was sponsored by MP Yehiya Al Suad and was passed by a majority of 89 votes , enough to topple the government of Prime Minister Abdullah Nsour from power if he declined to act on it. Although the resolution is not binding, the MPs, however, can force a vote of no confidence against his government and bring it down if the government did not expel the ambassador.

On the surface this sounds like a very serious hard politics and democracy in action by the MPs. But according to many Jordanian analysts and experts I talked to here in Amman, this whole thing was nothing but a show for the cameras and that the Israeli ambassador will not be expelled from Amman and the government will not be brought down. During a visit to the Parliament, where I spent a considerable amount of time this past week speaking to several MPs including Speaker Saad Hayel al Souror, I found no indication that there was any serious attempt or even a hint that the Israeli ambassador will be expelled from Jordan.

MP Mohamad al Hejuj told me that although 89 MPs signed off on the resolution there were no real expectations and even skepticism by MPs about the likelihood of the seriousness of their resolution.

Why then 89 members of Parliament decided to create a false perception of solidarity with the Palestinians and with al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem fully knowing that their actions have no real value or even an honest effort.

Representative Mohamad Jamil Thahrawi explained to me that the whole issue was a spontaneous charade that grew out of hand. He said that none of the sponsors of the resolution thought that their resolution was serious enough to threaten the government. But since it garnered 89 votes, it created a constitutional quagmire whereby the government has to act on it and therefore risk a diplomatic battle with Israel and the US or risk losing a vote of confidence.

As a result several representatives who sponsored the resolution held a private session and decided to essentially kill it by allowing every sponsor to withdraw his vote including the main sponsor Yehya al Soud. Although this resolution stands at this point, it is by all accounts a dead on arrival.

Political columnist Osama Rantisis who writes for the daily Al Arab al Youm thinks that this whole thing was a ploy by the Intelligence department who activated its allies in the Parliament to create this whole show. The Jordanian Intelligence department (the Mukhabarat) is accused of running the Parliament in accordance to its own agenda through members it helps “elect” by rigging the Parliamentary elections.

Abdel Rahman Qatarneh, a former candidate for parliament in 1993, told me that he was asked to meet with the head of the intelligence department at that time, Mustfa Qaisy, in order to officially declare him the winner of that seat three days before the elections took place or two other people would be declared the winners. The reason for that, Qatarneh explained, was to have him as the Muhkbarat’s man inside the Parliament. Qatarmeh refused and he lost the elections to the same two people the Mukhabrat told him would win.

Mohamad Khalaf al Hadid, a well-known anti-regime activist, stated that, “The current Parliament is filled with the Mukhabrat’s men who function by remote control from its headquarters in Amman.”

Ali Younes is a writer and analyst based in Washington D.C. He can be reached at: aliyounes98@gmail.com and on Twitter at @clearali.