By Hani Hazaimeh, JORDAN TIMES
AMMAN – A former senior official and political analyst has acknowledged that he raised the issue of Jordanians of Palestinian origin with US diplomats in Amman, as shown by cables released by Wikileaks.
Former political adviser to His Majesty the late King Hussein, Adnan Abu Odeh, who also assumed several key posts during his career, said what he told US embassy officials in Amman about Jordanians of Palestinian origin not enjoying their full rights is a declared position that he had already published in a book.
Abu Odeh was responding to a question by The Jordan Times during a lecture he delivered on Sunday at the Jordan Press Foundation’s Al Rai Studies Centre on the pros and cons of the Palestinian leadership’s decision to seek recognition for statehood at the UN.
“What I say behind closed doors is not different from what I say in public,” he said.
According to the Wikileaks documents, Abu Odeh said the government purposely pays little attention to parliamentarians of Palestinian origin, pointing to the “small number” of Palestinians in the Cabinet and in other high-ranking positions as proof.
“Faced with an unfavourable electoral predicament, many Jordanians of Palestinian origin sometimes choose East Bankers to represent them. Of those candidates of Palestinian origin who win seats in Parliament, none are likely to become an effective voice on behalf of Palestinian rights within Jordan. Even worse for them, parliamentarians of Palestinian origin are unlikely to have connections within Jordan’s East Bank-dominated bureaucracy,” Abu Odeh was quoted as saying in the documents published online recently.
“In order to protect their clout with the government, some Palestinian-origin voters will throw their weight behind an East Bank candidate who has the family connections and a tribal pedigree necessary to bring home the spoils of government to the district,” he was quoted as saying.
According to the Wikileaks documents, Abu Odeh described this as a “necessary bribe” and part of a larger societal deal in which East Bankers control the state and Jordanians of Palestinian origin dominate the business world.
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