Illustration: Abed (Abedalelah) Almaala Speaking at Jordan Option Ultimate Solution Conference by Les Glassman (Courtesy Ted Belman, Screenshot 11:31)
The Jerusalem Herald has presented a number of topics concerning different approaches to peace and stability for Israel and her neighbors. Recently we've covered concerns over instability in Jordan; allegations that Arab leaders are corrupting their own people; commentary pointing out the pitfalls of political correctness in an Arab-Israeli agreement; exploration of ideas regarding funded emigration; and discussion of legal victories stopping BDS assaults.
One concept, that of a Palestinian Arab national political entity – if one is to be established – outside of the Land of Israel in Jordan, will be discussed at the upcoming Jerusalem conference, The Jordan Option: The Only Road to Peace. The conference, which will take place at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center on October 17th, provides an opportunity to stimulate stagnant public dialogue.
Abed (Abedalelah) Almaala, deputy secretary of the Jordanian Opposition Coalition (JOC) and a member of the Bani Hassan tribe, spoke with The Jerusalem Herald about his upcoming presentation at the conference on the question: “Will the Jordanian Tribes Rebel Against The New Government?”
An outspoken critic of the monarchy, Almaala views Jordan’s King Abdullah II as the primary impediment to a better life for the Jordanian people. Citing the high cost of maintaining the royal family, he argues that most of Jordan’s tribes believe the future of the country depends on a change in the Hashemite regime.
Almaala shared scathing criticism for the disparity of Jordanian life between king and subjects, claiming the monarch has been “looting the expenditures of the Jordanian budget.”
You have been an outspoken critic of the Jordanian monarchy and government and their policies; why have you decided to speak now?
I decided to speak because this is the first time my clan, the Bani Hassan, has a chance and opportunity to speak with the Jews directly.
Since the glorious Majidia Revolution of 1923, all political attempts, whether peaceful or military, have not succeeded in bringing about political change in Jordan. The revolt against the Hashemites failed against the regime of Abdullah I, who was allied with Britain against that revolution led by Majid bin Adwan.
Now my clan and all of Jordan’s clans have the chance to speak with the Jews directly without Hashemite regime interference.
What do you hope the conference will achieve?
I hope the conference will achieve and send three messages to all the world. First, the Jewish state should stay for ever in their land and have the right to pray at the Western Wall as the Muslims have the right to pray in Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Second, to send a message to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority that the knife of hate and the rocket of hate should stop against Israel for ever.
And third, to give a message to the king of Jordan that your time has expired and that the Jordanian Opposition Coalition’s (JOC) Jordan Option Plan is the only and the last chance for the Jordanian people to survive and each one to live side by side with the Jewish state.
What can you tell us about the support the JOC and its leader, Mudar Zahran, have in Jordan? How much influence do you have on the ground?
The JOC connects with our people in Jordan; Mr. Mudar Zahran has defended Jordanian human rights for many years. King Abdullah II sent two delegates to my house in the USA to “kiss my head” to stop me from speaking up against him and his regime’s corruption. All Jordanians - from the king to anyone living in the villages - they know us.
I have been politically active in Jordan since 1978 and in America since I came in 1989. I continue to be involved as a human rights activist, defending Jordanians in Washington and Jordanians in different positions and political orientations.
For example, I advocated for Laith Shubeilat when he was imprisoned by the late King Hussein. And he thanked me when I met him in Washington D.C. after he left prison.
I also supported the defendants in the case of the famous students of Mu'tah University. They were accused of plotting to assassinate King Hussein; I circulated a statement to the White House during King Hussein's meeting with then US President Clinton. And shortly after, the sentences were commuted.
I also argued against the improper imprisonment of Dr. Ahmed Awaidi Abbadi. I was involved with many other cases which are less known, prior to the advent of the internet and Facebook. I held a “sit-in” in front of the White House with a group of young Jordanians in support of the 2011 Jordanian Spring demanding freedom, and I also hosted a forum in Congress to support Jordanian freedom and to expose corruption there.
And your clan, the "million man" Bani Hassan tribe, the largest in Jordan - do they support the king being replaced?
Most of the clans in Jordan believe that the real future in Jordan is the change of the Hashemite regime. It has been more than 70 years and Jordanians are still waiting for the promises of the Hashemites to live a decent life. But their promises have become a waste of time. There has been a harder and more difficult life for the Jordanians, while at the same time the Hashemites have increased their taste for luxury living at the expense of good Jordanians.
The cost of the Hashemite government's bill to Jordan has become very high; the Jordanians can not afford it at all, especially when you realize the number of royal family members does not exceed 88 in a country of over nine million people. The Hashemites live in Jordan in palaces with high costs and even higher daily expenses at the cost of the livelihood of the poor Jordanian people.
Since Abdullah II took power nearly 17 years ago, he has promised the people investments and better living conditions. Jordanians have only found empty words and false promises; they have become sick with dizziness and high blood pressure.
And we tell the Jordanians that the problem in Jordan is not investment or needed changes in laws and more development; the problem is not to bring in more investment - the problem is with the corrupt Hashemite regime!
Abdullah II - Thief! - robbed the people and the foundations of the state. Even if all the economic geniuses in the world were brought to enact an investment law, there will be no investment growth as long as Abdullah II governs Jordan.
The world should see that the Hashemites have been looting all the current expenditures of the Jordanian budget to build their palaces on more than 25,000 acres, including the following palaces: the Qasr Al-Husseiniya; Raghadan Palace (1983 renovation); Qasr Al-Hashimiyah (mid 1970s); Palace of Peace (Bab as-Salam); Al-Ma’wa Palace (renovated 1980s); Zahran Palace (1950s); and Qasr Al-Nadwa (1980 renovation).
The real investment in Jordan is to change the Hashemite regime. If we save the high cost of the Hashemite expenses and invest all the wealth of the Hashemite palaces, turning them into hospitals and health clinics to treat the over one million good Jordanians suffering from high blood pressure, according to the latest statistics - this is real investment without any begging from any other country.
You have said: “It is fully documented and even public knowledge that Hamas was created in cooperation between Jordan’s king, the late Hussein, and Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood.”
Jordanian clans, whether big or small, do not support ISIS or Muslim Brotherhood. But the king plays a two faced game with ISIS and Muslim Brotherhood to produce terrorists and export them outside Jordan.
How would a change in Jordan affect Arab residents of Judea and Samaria? What advice do you have for them?
The Arab people are lucky to have Israel as their neighbor. The PA Arab residents of Judea and Samaria have a choice. Most of their relatives are in Jordan and if they want to unite with their relatives, we welcome them to make a new Jordan!
You are outspoken against anti-Israel movements, saying, “BDS is a reckless act of hatred that threatens the security and stability of not only Israel, but also my country, Jordan, and the entire Middle East.”
Israel will stay forever in its land and should have embassies in each Arab country in the Middle East. How many Jews who used to live in Arab countries longed to move to Israel? The Jews who moved to Israel and who used to live in Arab countries have will-power. And now Jews get back their land.