In early December, a group of Jordanian political parties, unions, and civil groups joined together in a campaign to pressure the government to scrap its 10-year-old peace treaty with Apartheid Israel. The demand is part of the groupâs campaign against the Apartheid Wall.
In a statement released on December 8, the Jordanian coalition stated: âThe struggle against the Israeli Apartheid Wall is part of our relentless fight to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation. Jordanians are required to force the government to cancel the Wadi Araba treaty in order to act as an example to other Arab countries.â
The statement was signed by a group of 25 unions, political parties, and student and womenâs organizations. It signalled the launch of the groupâs week-long campaign to win Arab and international public opinion to put pressure on their governments to force Israel to dismantle the Apartheid Wall.
In addition to the statement denouncing the Wadi Araba treaty, signed in October 1994, the groupâs week of action included the screening of a documentary film, a photography exhibit, and several conferences, all meant to raise public awareness and support for the struggle against the Apartheid Wall. This is part of the international effort to press governments to enforce the ruling of the International Court of Justice against the illegal Wall in July 2004.
Activists supporting the statement against the treaty see the movement against it as part of the larger movement to end normalization with Apartheid Israel. Under the Wadi Araba treaty, Israel and Jordan agreed to exchange territory; the treaty also opened the way for joint efforts in trade, tourism, transportation, water resources, and environmental protection. Jordanians opposed to the treaty declare that all of these steps legitimize Israelâs brutal occupation of Palestine.
The latest protests in Jordan against the Apartheid Wall, the Wadi Araba treaty, and normalization with Israel come at a crucial moment. On December 23, the Jordanian government signed a new trade accord with Israel. Under the terms of the agreement, Jordan will eliminate many customs duties on Israeli goods by the year 2010. The agreement is widely viewed as a step towards a free trade accord between Jordan and Israel. Like the recent trade agreement between Egypt and Israel that set up Qualifying Industrial Zones (QIZ) between the two countries, the agreement signed by Jordan came after heavy pressure from the U.S. and European Union, who are pushing Arab countries towards normalization with Apartheid Israel.
However, protests in both Egypt and Jordan in recent weeks show that whatever polices may be adopted by these governments, at the grassroots level there is overwhelming support for the Palestinian struggle against Apartheid. Increasingly, in both Jordan and Egypt, civil society is uniting and organizing around the demand to end such moves towards normalization with the Occupation.