Lower House public debate of ‘energy-for-water’ deal falls through

First oversight session suspended as MPs denounce normalization with Israel

Lower House
The Lower House session was postponed until next Monday as most lawmakers refused to resume the debate. (File photo: Ameer Khalifeh/Jordan News)
AMMAN — Lower House Speaker Abdul Karim Al-Doghmi had to suspend an oversight session on Wednesday that had convened to discuss the letter of intent, signed in November between Jordan, Israel and the UAE, amidst protests by scores of lawmakers opposing the presence of Minister of Water and Irrigation Mohammad Al-Najjar. A total of 76 representatives had asked for a public debate of the memo. اضافة اعلان

Pandemonium erupted after MP Saleh Al-Armouti requested the removal of the water minister from the session, but Doghmi rejected the request. This lead to Armouti walking out of the session, and scores of lawmakers following suit. Doghmi adjourned the session for 30 minutes, but lack of quorum forced the speaker to postpone the session until next Monday as most lawmakers refused to resume the debate.

“I could not stay in the presence of someone who signed an agreement with the Zionist enemy, which is going to damage the security of the nation,” Armouti told Jordan News.

MPs Khalil Atieh, Tamam Al-Riyati, and Omar Al-Zuod, who spoke to Jordan News, shared Armouti’s view in rejecting any form of normalization with Israel. They expressed deep pride in their stand at parliament against the water minister and saw it as “a memorable step in the right direction that expresses the anger of Jordanians”.

Riyati called the letter “an ominous declaration of intent that only represents those who signed it, and not the entire nation”. She condemned Israel as “a state with a history of betrayals and unfulfilled promises; that only seeks to usurp Jordan of its free political will.” She hailed the House’s stand as firm and a reflection of national priorities and interests.

Armouti added that in the event the government does not withdraw from the deal, he would call for a vote of no confidence.

The House media advisor Hamza Al-Akaileh said the session’s procedures were in line with the House bylaws, noting that “neither the Constitution nor the House bylaws include provisions that allow the dismissal of a minister from the parliament session.”

He affirmed that there has not been any such precedence in the history of parliament, noting that the House could resort to other constitutional means to voice their rejection, like calling for a vote of no confidence against a minister or the entire cabinet as stipulated under articles 53 and 54 of the Constitution.

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