Behind the Official Statement: On Kasji and His Martyrdom

By Fahed Khitan

تم نشره في Sat 13 May / May 2017. 11:00 PM
  • Fahed Khitan

Netanyahu’s government denounced the official Jordanian reaction to our citizen's attempt to stab an Israeli policeman in occupied Jerusalem on Sunday.

The policeman was moderately wounded, but he managed, anyway, to deliver a fatal shot to 50-year-old Mohammed Kasji.

This incident, is the second of its kind, allegedly.

Back in September, a Jordanian citizen, Saeed Amro, also allegedly carried out a similar attempt.

The next day, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a sharp toned statement, in an attempt to contain the wave of anger, and described the killing of Amro as barbaric, questioning the validity of the Israeli story. Amro was named a martyr.

This time, the government issued a statement similar to the one in September, albeit in a less aggravated tone.

Despite the relatively calmer tone, the government’s address was warmly received by the public and social media activists for its clear condemnation of what the state considered a crime against Kasji.

The official rhetoric appeals to the public sentiment of the vast majority of Jordanians who support such operations and praises their perpetrators as martyrs.

But in the official circles and beyond, there is another, not as popular a perspective on the issue; one that should not be dismissed.

To us in Jordan, based on the terms of the international resolutions on the 1967 territories, Israel’s presence as an occupying power in these occupied Palestinian territories, as well as acts, is unrecognised and illegal.

Accordingly, any such operations as Kasji’s or Amro’s attempts could be described, legally, as resistance and anti-occupation operations, in those areas exclusively.

On the one hand though, Jordan has formally signed a peace treaty, recognising Israel as a state with the exception of the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Since then, Jordan has committed itself to work for peace and the establishment of an independent Palestinian state through peaceful means via negotiations.

The question is; does this official commitment contradict with the government’s position on the attempted stabbing of Israeli soldiers by Jordanian citizens?!

Could the official position be considered incitation for other citizens to carry out similar operations?

The resistance of occupation by all means is a legitimate right of the occupied people under, make no mistake; this is inarguable premise.

Still, given Jordan’s relationship with Israel, to begin with, and the political situation, which exists regardless of national consensus against occupation and normalisation at the grassroots, popular levels, how should one approach the situation?

Mind you that Jordan is balancing out the regional storm on such a slippery slope; a narrow crossing over very dangerous waters.

In such an inflamed geopolitical situation, facing risks on all frontiers, Jordan must tread these trails carefully, as the right-wing leadership in Israel attempts harness the momentum of the advent of Trump’s new, full-in, pro-Israel administration.

Certainly, there is a difference between the more recent Jerusalem operations and the martyrdom of Judge Raed Zuaiter, on the Jordan-Palestine crossing bridge.

Expectedly, the official tone and position would also vary.

For the murderous crime committed against Judge Zuaiter, there is no excuse or justification, whatsoever. Thus, the murders should be held accountable, there is no hesitation here.

Popularly, we can all easily agree on how we choose to see Kasjiya attempt.

At the official level, though, it is a whole different story. It far more complex, and that is despite the blatant clarity of the government’s statement.

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic version, published by AlGhad.