Jordan detains 20 Hamas activists

AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordan has detained more than 20 Hamas activists for smuggling arms from Syria, a government spokesman said Wednesday, revealing for the first time the number of Palestinians arrested since the cache was uncovered. Government spokesman Nasser Judeh accused the activists of plotting to destabilize the kingdom. He spoke as a Palestinian security delegation, headed by Maj. Gen. Tareq Abu Rajab, the head of Palestinian General Intelligence, began a two-day visit to Jordan to investigate the evidence against the Hamas militants. Judeh said the arrests took place three weeks ago, when the police seized the weapons, including missiles and rockets, that Hamas members had stockpiled in various parts of the country. Source: [Yahoo news]

So the Hamas issue continues to snowball while the number of skeptics keeps growing. From conversations I’ve had with a number of Jordanian and Arab nationals (both online and offline), very few seem to fully believe the Jordanian government’s version of the story. The Hamas debacle has clearly revealed that many Jordanians think twice before putting their full trust in the Jordanian government. I really think the government needs to work on improving its credibility amongst Jordanians. For reasons I don’t want to get into now, it appears conspiracy theories are here to stay.

11 thoughts on “Jordan detains 20 Hamas activists”

  1. Hey Natasha,
    It’s not just about conspiracy theories (although we all know they seem to be part of the culture of the middle east), we also must not forget that all the governments of the middle east, including that of our beloved Jordan, have always been less than truthful (to say the least) in their communications with their people.
    Some may say that that is the MO of all governments, not just those of the middle east (just look at the Bush Administration). True; however, Arab governments seem to be especially fond of feeding their people crap.
    Until they convince us of why we should believe them, I think that anything coming from officials in the Jordanian government is, well, crap.

  2. Scooby,
    Just wondering….. do you think in this case we should believe Hamas ‘s version? I mean, why would we trust Hamas more than the Jordanian government? Do you think they are more credible? If yes, why?

  3. Natasha,
    By no means am I saying that we should trust Hamas “more” than Jordan’s government. What I said above regarding the credibility levels of Arab governments applies just as much to Hamas as to any other government in the middle east.
    What is tricky about Hamas’s situation, which I assume it could be using to its advantage, is the semi-official off-shoots that could be acting in a manner contrary to what Hamas’s central leadership may desire, yet their actions would still be attributed to Hamas.
    I have a great deal of skepticism when it comes to all politics and pliticians. There is usually a much larger game that is being played, and this incident is really interesting to me because it is another example of how Jordan’s government’s actions and policies are utterly unrepresentative of the vast majority of the its people; that would be the 99%+ of the population of Jordan that does not live in West Amman.
    Simply put, most Jordanians feel that their government is picking on the wrong guys from across the river; but in Jordan, just like in any other place in the middle east, it does not matter what the people think or want because big brother knows best – and he’s always watching.
    See, we can’t escape the conspiracy theories; they’re in our blood.

  4. Natasha,
    I am not trying to allude to anything here, but I feel an importnat aspect that people fail to mention, for fear of persecution or otherwise, is the government’s (PM, house of reps etc..) impotence in the long run given the asymmetrical weighting assigned to the words ‘constitutional’ and ‘monarchy’. Establishing a credible system could be a start. My main issue with Jordan’s foreign policy choices in the past 4-5 weeks are not related to relative truths or false condemnations of their neighbors. My biggest issue is the mean with which they have chosen to voice their concerns. In other words, Jordan appeared to be diplomatically ill-mannered and plain rude (the word I really have in mind is ‘nawar’) in the way it chose to handle the situation a day prior to a scheduled diplomatic visit by a newly appointed neighboring government. In what seems to be an effort to promote our image to the ‘Western’ world, we may have forgotten that our image domestically, amongst our so called brethren, is being tarnished. I believe it would be wise to promote our image internally before doing so across the pond (although the latter may be an easier endevour), this would perhaps reduce the amount of noise we tend to transmit with our signal.
    -Jingoist Abroad

  5. People’s mistrust to the government dates back to more than half century ago. IT’s not new, and the Jordanian government did lie to the people a few times in the past.
    The government is not stupid. They know that most Arabs and Jordanians won’t believe this story, which makes me somewhat believe it! Why would the government lie and detain 20 innocent people knowing that nobody would believe it and their popularity among the people would terribly be affected unless there was some truth in it?

  6. Dear Hamako and Scooby, according to Reuters:

    The government said it would soon televise confessions by Hamas activists to quell widespread skepticism by ordinary Jordanians that the government has trumped up the charges as a pretext to sever ties with the Palestinian militant group.

    Would seeing these televised confessions make you reconsider your position? Or would you still insist that the government is lying ..Just wondering!

  7. I think people didn’t believe the government this time because they didn’t respond to Hamas aggressive respond to Jordanian government announcement about the smuggling case nevertheless I think our government should respect us little more by sharing us all non-sensitive information they have so we can defend it at least in a simple chat with a taxi driver and this is the minimum.
    on the other hand I think Hamas proved how weak they are in politics even more our lovely weak government spokesman especially with their aggressive respond to Jordanian government who were always good to Palestinians.

  8. Natasha,
    My point here is not to come out as a Hamas apologist; God knows I have my issues with them. That being said, with regards to your excerpt from Reuters: I am not surprised.
    Jordan is one of the countries that has participated with the U.S. in the illegal prisoner rendition program, you know the one, where the U.S. would rather have others do their dirty work in using torture to interrogate detainees. Prisoners are shipped to other places, including Jordan, where government “employees” would nicely “convince” detainees to “confess” their involvement in “illegal” and “terrorism-related” activitiies.
    I’m sure they will be able to get me to go on TV and confess that I am related by blood to Michael Jackson if they used their kind, super convincing persuasion techniques. I’m sorry, but these alleged “confessions” don’t prove to me that the government of Hamas was behind this. They may very well be, I just need more proof.
    Furthermore, refer to what I said above about the various factions that are springing up all over the place claiming to be associated with X or Y. It seems that these days all you need is a video camera, a machine gun, and a “hatta” wrapped around your face and you can start your own “resistance” faction.
    Finally, to reiterate what Hamako said, I think what’s most unfortunate is the method and timing of how this whole debacle was handled by the Jordanian government. The “nawraneh” by which we choose to treat those close to us and the sucking up we do to our new best friends so that we would look “cool” to the west.
    Why should I be surprised? Jordan is the 52nd state after all.

  9. Hello Natasha,
    Perhaps you misunderstood my comment. The intended premise of my argument is my apathy towards who was right or wrong, if there are such parameters in such a situation. My point of interest lies with how the gov. chose to handle the situation at hand. Instead of using diplomacy, a feat. our governemnt so proudly presents itself with to the west, it chose a blunt ‘you are not welcome here’ sign. I personally do not like Hamas as they are not a secular entity, which profoundly disturbs me, not to mention their nefarious methods of combat. So in response to your wonderings, I can assure you that my stance on the subject would not change, as I do not believe that we were referring to the same one. A drop of honey catches more flies than a hogshead of vinegar.

  10. hi, thats my first time i see ur bog, nice blog,i like it.
    about Hamas clash, i think that the people who decided not to believe the government, will not gona believe just simply cause they dont wana to believe.
    what am saying is,even if we see on tv live hamas show while they do the attacks”la sama7 allah” ,some people will keep say its all a government lies.

  11. Its amazing how over the years the Arab-Israeli conflict has transformed to become an Inter-Arab conflict.
    Maybe Israel should dictate how to solve conflicts between Arab countries.

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