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Friday, May 6, 2016

An attendee at the Women in Parliament Global Forum in Amman, Jordan, reported to me some details from within after reading my posts about how Jordan banned any Israeli participation - and how the organizers were complicit with this discrimination.

One of the welcoming speeches came from the head of the Jordanian House of Representatives, Atef Tarawneh, the person who bragged to the Arabic media to begin with that Israel was forbidden to attend the summit held at his parliament. In his speech he discussed his country's challenges, saying that Jordan is facing terrorists at all borders: in Syria in the north, Iraq in the East and "Zionist terrorists who occupied Palestine" in the West. The translator, however, changed his words and just said something like "and Israel to the West." (That speech is unfortunately not archived at the WIP Facebook page.)

Delegates at the conference had no idea that Israel was banned from attending and were surprised by its absence. (The US did not attend but I don't think it has ever participated.)

The Palestinian representative tried to give a speech against Israel during a Q&A on the first day, but was cut off by the moderator and was not allowed to speak on the second day.

My correspondent asked Alexandra Rosen, the head of WIP, about the Israel ban. She said that she couldn't comment but the communications manager would get back to her. So far, there has been no word, and it seems likely that she was blowing her off.

The project manager for the event, when asked about the ban, said that he was not aware of it.

One of the sessions at the event that banned Israel was called "Promise of peace: women's role in conflict prevention, peacekeeping and finding solutions."

Yesterday, Israel lodged an official protest against Jordan for Tarawneh's earlier comments on banning Israel from the forum, where he said "We will not allow those who kill our youth and our daughters and who usurped our land to enter the Dome of the Jordanian Parliament." But as far as I can tell there has been no Israeli reaction to the banning of Israel from the conference itself.

I tweeted to a number of Israeli female MKs to comment on the ban but did not hear anything back.

I have a guess that Israel made a deal with WIP to tacitly allow this ban in exchange for a major meeting that the organization held in Israel last year. WIP badly wanted to hold a conference in an Arab country to make a statement. But that is only a guess, and that is the only way I can understand Israel's complete official silence on this matter.

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