Israel ‘tricked’ Jordan union members visiting West Bank

“Tricky Israelis” have been blamed for  Jordanian union members having Israeli visa stamps in their passport.

One hundred Jordanian Engineering Union members, part of a large delegation meeting with Palestinian counterparts,  were facing expulsion from their union because of anti-Israel, anti-normalisation policies of their association.

Union expulsion could end careeers

This threat caused quite a deal of problems because under Jordanian law expulsion from their union could have ended their careers as engineers.

But the Jordan Times has just reported that the Engineers Union members who have Israeli stamps in their passports will now not be penalised, JEA President Abdullah Obeidat said on Tuesday.

Some observers have commented that the issues of tricky Israelis was conveniently raised a few weeks back by the union leadership because of internal Engineering Union elections.

Israeli border authorities blamed for stamping passports

Union President Abdulla Obeidat has blamed Israeli border authorities for allegedly stamping the passports of a union delegation travelling to the Palestinian territories without their knowledge.

“The engineers’ delegation that participated in the third consulting conference in Ramallah was tricked by occupation authorities who stamped their passports without their consent or knowledge,” the union president said in a statement made available to The Jordan Times.

Passport stamps considered normalisation – and subject to disciplinary action

The members whose passports were stamped, considered by many in the association as a sign of normalisation, will not face disciplinary action , he added.

A delegation of around 100 engineers travelled to the occupied territories last month to lend support to their Palestinian counterparts.

Israel visa stamps tarnish our image and basic principles – union president

Although the delegates received a special permit from the Palestinian Authority to facilitate their entry, their passports were stamped by Israeli authorities “without justification”, Obeidat claimed.

“Israel is trying to tarnish our image and basic principles, which are against normalisation with Israel,” he added.

Earlier this month, the  Jordan Engineers Union delegation came under fire from some activists for entering the Palestinian territories with an Israeli visa.

The Anti-Normalisation Committee at the union warned that if any member is proven to have the Israeli stamp in his passport, he would face expulsion from the syndicate.

Conspiracy by Israel

Obeidat deplored Israel’s actions and for “not informing delegation members what was happening”.

“This is a conspiracy by the occupation to make it appear that the engineers are normalising relations with Israel,” he said, noting that the union leadership refused to take part in the event for fear of similar action.

Jordan signed peace treaty with Israel in 1994

Jordan signed the Wadi Araba treaty with Israel in 1994, making it the second Arab country to sign a peace agreement with Israel following the 1978 Camp David Accords with Egypt.

However, activists at the professional associations have been leading a campaign against normalisation with Israel since the treaty was signed.

Members of professional associations who are proven to have established contacts with the Israeli side face disciplinary measures including being expelled from their association and banned from practising their profession.

Read earlier report on TULIP  website