Why are Jordanian officials stopping Iyad Burnat’s US speaking tour?

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Iyad Burnat, the head of Popular Committee of Bil’in, was invited by Jewish Voice for Peace and other groups to speak throughout the United States about Palestinians’ peaceful work for human rights. So why did Jordanian officials refuse Mr. Burnat entry, preventing his traveling to Amman for his flight to the U.S.? An urgent email–forwarded by friends–from Jill (Susannah) Baker, the co-ordinator of Burnat’s U.S. tour, asked for support and gave us a template for writing the Jordanian embassy.  All can read it on Facebook.

I’ve just called the Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan (202.966.2664
), and was told by a very helpful receptionist that “We hope everything can be worked out.” When I asked whether I could quote her for because everyone is very concerned about Iyad Burnat, she kindly answered, “We are going to contact Jordan and see what is going on.”

Here is the letter I emailed yesterday:

Dr. Alia Hatoug-Bouran,
Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan to the United States of America
Embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
3504 International Drive, N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20008

Telephone: (202) 966 – 2664

Fax: (202) 966 – 3110
Email: [email protected]

Dear Dr. Alia Hatoug-Bouran,

I fervently request that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan please allow Mr. Iyad Burnat of Bil’in, Palestine, to travel to Amman for his flight to the United States. Mr. Burnat is scheduled to speak throughout the U.S. from November 2012 to February 2013, invited by Jewish Voice for Peace and Interfaith Peace Builders.

Iyad Burnat comes to the United States to describe his work for peace and justice–efforts supported by Israeli and international peace activists who are dedicated to working non-violently for the human rights of all people. Talks are scheduled in New Hampshire, Maine, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Louisiana, California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Utah, Washington DC, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. American audiences eagerly wait to hear Mr. Burnat’s message of peace and hope for the Middle East. We in Ohio particularly look forward meeting Mr. Burnat on 7:00 P.M., Wednesday, November 28, at the Mennonite Church in Columbus. We long to hear for ourselves about Ilad Burnat’s brave efforts for justice and peace, as well as that of his valiant community, Bil’in.

However, today, Thursday November 1, 2012, Mr. Iyad Burnat was stopped in his journey to the United States. Although Mr. Burnat had been allowed by the Israeli government to cross the border on his way to Amman, Jordan, and his flight to the U.S., he was unfortunately detained by Jordanian border officials, who refused him passage into Jordan. Mr. Burnat has returned to Bil’in, awaiting the resolution of this problem, so that he may continue his journey. We in the United States dearly hope that you will let Mr. Burnat travel to our country.

Dr. Hatoug-Bouran, I appeal to you, the Ambassador of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, to allow Mr. Burnat to cross the border so that he may fly from Amman to the U.S.  Citizens of the United States who yearn for peace, justice, and equality throughout the world, extend a heart-felt plea that you allow us to hear from so admirable a peacemaker and hero as Mr. Iyad Burnat.

Thank you very much.

Susie Kneedler

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Bribe wasn’t big enough? Who knows? If Israel let him out, what gives? Has Jordan become a “secret” agent to do Israel’s dirty work? Makes no sense, because Israel is happy to do its own dirty work.

Israel’s hasbara is no doubt worried about the success of the movie “5 Broken Cameras” in the US but doesn’t want to be seen as directly involved in stopping Iyad’s tour. Presumably Jordan needs a favour from Israel (about getting more dollars out of Washington?) and this is a tit… Read more »