One of Jordan’s largest tribal families marked the accreditation of one of its sons as ambassador to Tel Aviv with black banners and a day of mourning, following its failed bid to thwart his appointment.
Seven Jordanian villages near Irbid, where members of the Obeidat tribe live, entered a state of public mourning just hours after Walid Obeidat presented his credentials to Israeli President Shimon Peres Wednesday, London-based daily Al-Hayat reported.
Obeidat was the first Jordanian ambassador to arrive in Israel since July 2010, when ambassador Ali Al-Ayed was recalled to Jordan.
“The day of ambassador Obeidat’s appointment with the Zionist entity represents a black day for all Jordanians,” said Sa’eb Obeidat, described by Al-Hayat as ‘the grandson of the first Jordanian martyr on Palestinian land’. “Members of the clan reject normalization with the Jewish state, and ambassador Walid Obeidat no longer represents them.”
‘The day of ambassador Obeidat’s appointment with the Zionist entity represents a black day for all Jordanians,’ said Sa’eb Obeidat, described by Al-Hayat as ‘the grandson of the first Jordanian martyr on Palestinian land’.
In addition to the black flags, large signs were put up in the Obeidat villages criticizing the appointment, one sign reading “no to normalization with the Zionist enemy.” Tribal leaders declared October 17 as “an annual day of mourning” in all seven Obeidat villages in the vicinity of Irbid, Al-Hayat reported.
Earlier this month, the clan had threatened to disassociate from Obeidat if he accepted the post, calling itself “among the first to warn against the dangers of the Zionist project in the 1920s.”
But Fahed Khitan, a columnist with independent Jordanian daily Al-Ghad, claimed that Obeidat’s decision to assume his “national duty” should not be held against his entire clan.
“The years of so-called peace have not changed the feelings of Jordanians, including diplomats who worked in Israel,” wrote Khitan.
“Over the past years I have met a number of people who worked in the Jordanian embassy in Tel Aviv and were distressed by their assignment, but they treated it as a ‘national duty.’ Some of them harbor feelings which surpass the resentment of anti-normalizers in Jordan towards the Zionist entity.”
“I have never been a normalizer, and never will be,” Khitan added. “As a citizen, Israel shall remain an enemy of mine until the last day I live, regardless of what takes place on the peace front between Israel and the Arabs. I believe that the sentiments of those sent to Israel is no different than mine.”
During the reception at the presidential residence, Obeidat told Peres that Jordan’s top foreign priority was the establishment of a Palestinian state living side by side with the state of Israel.
“It is with great pride and honor that I serve the interests of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Israel,” wrote Obeidat in Peres’s guestbook.