AMMAN (Reuters) - Hundreds of Jordanian Islamists marched in the capital on Friday to denounce Washington’s peace plan to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and demand their government boycott a conference in Bahrain next week that will examine the project.
Emerging from the main Husseini mosque in downtown Amman after Friday prayers, the protesters, among them leaders of the mainstream Islamist movement that organized the march, chanted “O Trump, O Trump, go away from us. Jordan is steadfast and we will never kneel.”
U.S. President Donald Trump’s long-promised “Deal of the Century” peace plan has hit a political nerve in Jordan, where millions of citizens of Palestinian refugee origin live alongside native Jordanians.
While details of the secret peace plan are still sketchy, Trump’s approach has stirred old fears of any attempt to settle the conflict in a way that would suit Israel but forgo Palestinian rights at Jordan’s expense.
The protesters chanted slogans against Amman’s participation in the U.S. sponsored workshop in the Gulf kingdom of Bahrain next Tuesday which Washington has billed as an economic overture to its long delayed peace initiative.
“No to normalization with Israel... down, down with the Bahrain conference,” shouted angry protesters who mixed pro-Islamic chants and anti-Western rhetoric.
Some demonstrators carried placards saying “Down with Bahrain workshop” as hundreds of police stood by and cordoned off a main street in the heart of the capital’s downtown area.
Although Jordan will join the conference to roll out the economic parts of Trump’s plan, it will deliver a message there that no cash offers can replace a political solution to end Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, officials say.
“We have come to say in one voice that as Jordanians we reject the Bahrain workshop. It is shame on those who participate,” said Murad al Adaylah, the head of the Islamic Action Front,(IAF) the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s largest opposition group.
While the kingdom has a peace deal with Israel and maintains strong security ties, many Jordanians resent Israel and identify with the Palestinian aspirations for statehood.
Some businessmen and officials however privately say economically challenged Jordan could profit from any Middle East peace plan that promises billions in aid and project finance.
Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Editing by William Maclean
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