Walid Obeidat was yesterday sworn in by Jordan’s King Abdullah as the country’s new ambassador to Israel, despite pressure from Obeidat’s clan to turn down the appointment.
Last week, the powerful Obeidat clan threatened to “disown” the new ambassador should he take up the position, claiming that it would be “a despicable act that contradicts the positions of the tribe and its successive generations,” according to the Jerusalem Post. Representatives of the clan reportedly warned Obeidat that agreeing to the appointment would be “crossing all red lines and bringing disgrace and harm to his nation and clan.” However, Obeidat appears to have ignored the pressure in taking up his new post.
Jordan signed a peace agreement with Israel in 1994 and relations have been stable between the two countries ever since. However, Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead, a major conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Jordanian officials reportedly attribute the timing of Obeidat’s appointment to Egypt’s recent decision to also appoint a new ambassador to Israel. Obeidat himself is a career diplomat whose father was the Jordanian ambassador to Algeria and Qatar.
The Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan also condemned Obeidat’s appointment as a “big sin” according to the Jerusalem Post. In an unrelated development, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Jordanian Islamist groups organised a protest of around 15,000 people in the country’s capital Amman on Friday. They called on King Abdullah to accelerate democratic reforms just days after the monarch dissolveed parliament in advance of an election.