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TOPIC: jordan

FOCUS: Israel-Palestine War

Report: Deal Close For 10-15 Hostages In Exchange For Brief Ceasefire – Mideast War, Day 33

Qatar is leading negotiations for one to two day humanitarian truce in exchange for the release of up to 15 hostages held by Hamas.

Qatar is mediating between Israel and Hamas for the potential release of 10-15 captives in exchange for a short ceasefire, AFP reports.

“Negotiations mediated by the Qataris in coordination with the U.S. are ongoing to secure the release of 10-15 hostages in exchange for a one- to two-day ceasefire,” an anonymous source told the news agency.

Qatar has been a key player in talks aiming to secure the release of an estimated 240 captives held by Hamas, and has already led the successful negotiation for the the handover of four captives.

Since taking power 10 years ago in Qatar, the 43-year-old Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has been determined on positioning his country as a key player in global geopolitics. And the war between Israel and Hamas, a group indebted to Qatar, has allowed Thani an opportunity to raise his profile.

With rare access to Hamas, whose leaders are in exile in Qatar, Al Thani also enjoys a good rapport with Israel and the U.S, giving him a potentially unique position to help extract the hostages.

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Unlike other countries in the region, Qatar is not worried about an uprising or a challenge to his rule from political Islamists. Instead, Al Thani hosts Islamist terror groups, including Hamas, alongside a trade office for Israel and thousands of American troops at the Al Udeid Air Base, from which the United States routinely carries out operations in the region.

The deal to exchange a limited number of captives for a brief humanitarian "pause" in the fighting would still be far from the conditions necessary to obtain a lasting truce or hostage release.

Another key country trying to mediate and look for a long-term solution is Jordan, which is uniquely situated with a special relationship with the Palestinians, decades of peace with Israel, and its king's historic standing in the Muslim world.

Until the occupation by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, what is now the West Bank belonged to Jordan. Even before that, Jordan was considered an important guardian of Palestinian interests.

On Monday, it was reported that Jordanian planes were dropping aid supplies over Gaza, thanks to an accord with Israel. As German daily Die Welt reports, the Israelis now need Jordan as a mediator, and Jordan must hope for moderation from the Israeli government.

Jordan continues to see the Palestinian Authority of President Mahmoud Abbas and his secular Fatah as the main point of contact in the Occupied Territories. Jordan will therefore advocate handing Gaza over to the Palestinian Authority following a Hamas defeat and strengthening the Palestinian Authority so that it can meet the challenge.

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How Jordan Could Provide A Way Out Of The Gaza Conflict

As the war in Gaza grows bloodier by the day, the search for potential mediators in the region is crucial. Jordan is uniquely situated with a special relationship with the Palestinians, decades of peace with Israel, and the nation's king with a historic standing in the Muslim world.


The minister chose harsh words. Israel is "losing its humanity" as its attacks on Gaza continue, said Jordan's Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Ayman Safadi in an interview with the British broadcaster Sky News. "We're watching with tremendous shock what Israel is bringing about on Gazans."

When asked why he'd said in a meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Antony Blinken, that Israel was committing war crimes in Gaza, Safadi replied that this was simply: "statements of fact."

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This criticism of Israel does not come from an enemy of the Jewish state, but from one of its most important Arab partners. There's no denying that small, poor Jordan plays a key role in the current conflict. On Monday, it was reported that Jordanian planes were dropping aid supplies over Gaza, thanks to an accord with Israel.

The fact that Jerusalem is authorizing the mission is also due to Israel's special relationship with Jordan. When the Israeli government of Yitzhak Rabin concluded the Oslo peace accords with the Palestinians in the early 1990s, which led to the establishment of the Palestinian Authority and limited Palestinian control over the occupied territories, Israel also made peace with Jordan.

Bordering Israel and the West Bank to the east, Jordan is also a key mediator between Israel and the Palestinians for other reasons. Until the occupation by Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, what is now the West Bank belonged to Jordan. Even before that, Jordan was considered an important guardian of Palestinian interests. After all, depending on how you calculate it, around about one-third to just over half of Jordanians are of Palestinian origin.

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Hezbollah-Hamas Meeting, China Sacks Defense Minister, Bangladesh Festival

👋 A jaaraama!*

Welcome to Wednesday, where Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad leaders meet to coordinate their actions, China removes a second senior official with no explanation after he disappeared from public view for two months, and Australia’s beloved national spread celebrates its 100th anniversary. Meanwhile, Aila Inete and Flávia Rocha, in Portuguese-language online magazine Revista AzMina, look at how thousands of Brazilian girls are deceived by “foster parents” and duped into forced labor.

[*Fula, West and Central Africa]

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Who’s To Blame For Gaza Hospital Bombing? The 8 Key Points To Consider

Also, Egyptian president appears to threaten war with Israel over Palestinian refugees, and German chancellor forced to evacuate his plane amid air raid alert.

Updated Oct. 19 at 1:25 p.m.

The bombing of the Al-Ahli Arab hospital in Gaza City has dramatically escalated tensions between Israel and the Arab world. Both Israeli and Palestinian officials quickly accused the other of causing the explosion, which was inevitably followed by a kind of “social media war” of supporters of each side making the case for who is responsible. Israel has blamed a failed rocket launched by Palestinian militants, while Palestinians say the explosion was part of what’s been an ongoing air campaign on civilian targets in Gaza.

Endless streams of information are circulating online, but here are 7 points to consider when weighing these conflicting claims and making your own assessment of the tragic bombing.

1. Analyzing the damage: There has been much preliminary investigation into the damage done to the hospital, but so far findings are inconclusive. One analysis done by Italian publication Il Giornale finds that the laser-point bombs typically used by Israel do not produce the type of damage seen at the hospital. Other Israeli bombs that have hit Gazan buildings are generally designed to make the lower infrastructure of the building implode, destroying the foundations and thereby making the structure collapse inwards. This does not match imagery of the hospital rubble. Other investigations have been conducted by journalists at the BBC, who spoke to several experts about the situation. Two experts support the possibility that the large explosion could have been caused by a smaller impact in the car-park which then triggered a fuel reaction from the vehicles. However, the BBC stresses that there is still insufficient evidence to make certain conclusions for any theory.

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2. Geo-localisers: An organization working with OSINT(Open-source intelligence) used its geo-localization tools to determine where the hospital blast came from. GeoConfirmed posted their findings on twitter, stating that after analyzing footage from media network Al-Jazeera, which shows a rocket’s malfunction after being launched from within Gaza. The geo-locators look at the details of the rocket’s direction and fall to estimate a location of landing, which they conclude to be the hospital.

3. Audio of two Hamas militants: A video was released by the IDF showing audio of two Hamas militants discussing the possibility that the rocket was fired from a cemetery from behind the hospital. They claimed that the rocket “misfired and fell” on them, destroying the hospital. The video cannot be independently verified.

4. Israeli influencer’s deleted tweet: Just after the explosion was reported Tuesday night, Hananya Naftali, a pro-Israel influencer, tweeted that the Israeli air force struck a “terrorist base inside a hospital in Gaza.”

Following the tweet’s wide circulation on social media as proof that Israel is responsible for the hospital explosion, the influencer apologized for his “error” and claimed that he got his information from a Reuters report that “falsely” blamed Israel.

While Naftali’s tweet can certainly be a piece of the puzzle, and is used to back the pro-Palastinian claim that Israel is responsible, it is unclear what access the influencer has to direct information related to military operations.

5. Time stamp on Israeli video: Posted Tuesday night by the official state of Israel account on Twitter, a video was presented as evidence that the rocket came from Hamas. It showed outgoing rocket fire from militants, but the video was later deleted as people pointed out that the time stamp did not match with the time that the explosion took place. the tweet which has been edited for the video to be removed.

6. Israel’s prior warnings: The Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem, which runs the hospital, said it had already been a target of Israel. The hospital administration said it had received warnings from the IDF to evacuate the hospital on Saturday, Sunday and Monday before the explosion on Tuesday. It also claimed that two Israeli projectiles hit the hospital on Saturday, damaging the fourth floor. An IDF spokesperson acknowledged that the hospital had been called in recent days, but as part of a wider evacuation effort to convince Gaza’s civilians to flee south, and was “not in any way a target.”

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This Happened

This Happened — June 10: The Six-Day War Ends

On this day in 1967, the Six-Day War came to an end, as Israel faced off against its Arab neighbors, including Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

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In The News
Joel Silvestri, McKenna Johnson and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Mall Terror, 46 Migrants Dead In Texas Truck, Sardinia Beaches

👋 你好*

Welcome to Tuesday, where at least 16 die as Russia strikes a shopping mall in central Ukraine, 46 people are found dead inside a truck in Texas and Bangkok airport authorities make a surprising discovery in two women’s luggage. From India, Banjot Kaur writes in news site The Wire about the dangers of yoga malpractice — and the need for nationwide regulation.

[*Nĭ hăo - Mandarin]

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Laure Stephan

Jordanian Women Break Workplace Barriers To Gain Independence

In a country plagued by economic crisis, women are entering professions usually reserved for men. Against societal expectations, they are striving for independence.

AMMAN — At the end of the production line at the Combaj factory, Inas Shenawi checks the packaging of detergent bottles. Neither her degree in accounting nor her previous work experience had prepared her to work as a supervisor in a factory. But the 34-year-old Jordanian has no regrets: Shenawi says she is thriving and plans to climb the ladder at the factory in suburban Amman, where she first began working in spring 2020.

The current harsh economic crisis in Jordan made her take the leap into a job not common for women, but one that assures her rights and stability. "I can support my family, ensure our dignity," says Shenawi. As a single woman, her role as family breadwinner became crucial after her father could no longer work because of a heart attack.

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David B Roberts*

Nothing To See Here, How Arab Monarchies Hold On To Power

When the Jordanian royal family gathered on April 11 to celebrate 100 years since the kingdom's foundation, it was a picture of dynastic unity. Alongside King Abdullah was his half-brother, the former crown prince Hamzah bin al-Hussein, who had only days ago been placed under house arrest, following what was reported in the world's press as a "coup attempt". The king gave interviews assuring the outside world that all was well and that the former heir to the Jordanian throne had offered him his loyalty.

In no other area of the world do royal families dominate politics as much as in the Middle East. Six of the states on the Arabian peninsula are monarchies, as are Jordan and Morocco. Royals not only rule in these states, but in most cases members of the royal family dominate positions of influence in government and business sectors.

This prevalence of absolute monarchies in the Middle East has puzzled scholars for decades. Many somewhat arrogantly assumed that these modes of governance would die out as the states modernised and "inevitably" followed the western model, becoming republics or embracing the constitutional monarchy model. Yet the monarchies have proved to be rather resilient.

During the seismic regional upheaval of the Arab Spring from 2010 onwards, a number of republics were convulsed by revolution. But, while several monarchies endured significant protests, none fell – and few really looked in mortal peril.

Investigating the roots of this resilience has engendered a burst of scholarship. Some scholars have argued that monarchies were culturally or otherwise locally attuned and fit simply into prevalent tribal heritages. Others suggested that monarchies are more effective at controlling opposition or that they oppress their way to relative stability.

But such explanations struggle to contend with the region's history. Any sense of a special predilection in the Middle East for monarchy is undercut by the reality that many monarchies have fallen in the past century or so, as in Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, North Yemen, South Arabia, Libya and Iran.

A more compelling explanation is likely to lie elsewhere. For the Gulf monarchies, it is difficult to get away from the transformative impact of gargantuan levels of hydrocarbon resources.

All monarchies occupy important geostrategic locations

Wealth alone is far from a panacea – just ask citizens in Iraq, Iran, or Venezuela. But the careful and effective distribution of wealth has surely been a critical factor engendering comparative stability in the monarchies. Not only that, but all monarchies occupy important geostrategic locations. As such, they arguably benefit from the support of influential external states in maintaining the status quo – including the US in the case of the Gulf monarchies and Jordan, and France in the case of Morocco.

The kings and emirs of these states are not elected, and criticizing them or their position is usually a bright red line that citizens do not cross. Still, neither are they despots, and they rule with often a surprising degree of support from a range of constituencies.

Indeed, most royal elites created systems to place themselves at the apex of wealth or favor redistribution schemes that are baked into the state's political economy. This means they have created strong and sometimes diverse groups of individuals and structures in society who continue to be dependent on the status quo from which they benefit.

These benefits vary from country to country. Monarchs in the Gulf have long overseen some of the world's most generous welfare state systems, as well as low rates of taxation, sometimes explicit promises of jobs in the government sector, and a litany of subsidies. Similarly, in Jordan it has long been argued that elites used government handouts and patronage to boost support in key tribal constituencies.

This system has worked for decades, but is coming under increasing pressure. Indeed, arguably the central problem that the monarchies face, albeit to varying degrees, is that their economies are classed as rentier economies. This means that, in reality, a comparatively small percentage of the populations are involved with making the majority of the state's income, which tends to come from extractive industries (oil, gas, minerals) or international support.

The obvious issues here are that these resources are finite and subject to wildly shifting demand and prices. The influence of, for example, hydrocarbons on local economies is so pervasive that it tends to inhibit the emergence of an autonomous, functioning economy. Overall, this means that the state's GDP lurches around according to factors well beyond the control of the state, which has long played havoc with governments striving to set a sustainable, clear, long-term budget.

Diversifying these economies away from a reliance on these kinds of basic sources of income has been a goal for generations. The results show that states fail to meaningfully diversify unless they are forced to – and even when the wells run practically dry, they switch, like Bahrain, to relying on other monarchies for financial support.

The recent elite spat and mini crisis in Jordan is arguably rooted in precisely these kinds of economic concerns. But, if recent reports are to be believed, the family squabble has been resolved, order has been restored and – for the time being at least – the status quo appears to have survived.The Conversation

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Elise Vincent and Christophe Ayad

Exclusive: The Secret Global Data Cell Infiltrating Jihadists

We knew the name: Operation Gallant Phoenix. But now Le Monde has exclusive access to details of the U.S.-led, Jordan-based effort to use digital tools to track, capture and convict some of the most dangerous perpetrators of Islamist terror around the wor

Hidden from view in the quiet heat of Jordan, a vast data war is being waged. Ground zero is an American military base in the heart of the Hashemite kingdom, where for the past five years, a silent tracking system has been developed based on meticulous archives. The goal of this painstaking project? Identifying and consolidating the traces of every kind of jihadist fighter to pursue them in any way possible — including in the courts.

This extraordinary project was long run by the Pentagon and kept completely under wraps. While it remains a confidential operation to this day, it's been mentioned briefly by official sources across the Atlantic and by a few intelligence unit insiders in European media. Yet the undertaking was never disclosed to the public in detail. Today, Le Monde can reveal the origins and the modus operandi of what is known under the code name "Operation Gallant Phoenix" (OGP).

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food / travel
Bertrand Hauger

Petra Peddlers From The Past

The woman and the boy in the foreground were walking toward the members of my guided tour to try to sell knick-knacks. There were only two of them selling souvenirs in front of the Royal Tombs, and my fellow visitors and I had the whole Petra site pretty much to ourselves — which I'm told would be near impossible these days.

Marta Vidal

In Jordan, A Safe Space For Refugee Fathers

A group in East Amman gives men from Syria and other conflict zones an opportunity to open up and talk through the many ways they struggle.

AMMAN — Each week, a group of 15 or so refugee men meet at a community center in East Amman and sit in a circle. They laugh and cry together while sharing stories they always divide into two phases: before and after the war began.

War and protracted exile have stripped them of their traditional roles and identities as protectors and financial providers for their families. This group is a safe space in which they get to be vulnerable. They realize they're not alone — but most importantly, it's a chance to be heard.

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Gil Yaron

The Next Middle East Trouble Spot: Jordan

The longstanding peace accord between Israel and Jordan ensures stability in the region, but King Abdullah II's domestic troubles could change everything.

AMMAN — Israel's government has been rarely so surprised by a close ally. But on the 23rd anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Jordan's King Abdullah II reversed one of the Nobel Peace Prize winner's most important achievements.

On Twitter, the monarch announced that he was annulling an attachment to the peace treaty that his father had signed with Rabin in 1994. The treaty concerns two enclaves that Jordan leased to Israel for agricultural use for 25 years. They were considered a prime example of Israeli-Arab cooperation. According to the agreement, Israelis were given free access to areas that were Jewish privately-owned and farmed before Israel's foundation in 1948.

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