In order to place Jordan's progress to democracy on a stable foundation, a 60-member royal commission was appointed by King Hussein in April 1990 with the aim of drafting guidelines for the conduct of political party activity in Jordan. The commission comprised members representing all the political groups in the country, and it produced a written consensus in the form of the National Charter. The Charter was adopted in June 1991 at a national conference of 2000 leading Jordanians.
The National Charter outlines general guidelines for constructive dialogue between the executive and legislative organs, as well as between decision-makers and political and intellectual elites concerning questions of authority, rights and responsibility. It enunciates the terms under which political parties can operate-namely, within the framework of the Constitution and free of foreign funding-and also emphasizes broad agreement on the need for the political reflection of Jordan's cultural pluralism. Perhaps most importantly, the Charter has given Jordanian leaders a sense of direction, an insurance policy against outbidding by unrestrained groups, and a degree of predictability in political affairs. It has also eased concerns about the consequences of unbridled freedom of expression. The National Charter, along with the Jordanian Constitution, provides a compass for the national debate on fundamental issues.
The Jordanian National Charter
In The Name of God, The Merciful, The Compassionate,
Since the earliest times, Jordan has been a region of human settlement where civilisation prospered. It has been home for several waves of Semitic Arab migrations. Landmarks of past civilisations built by its inhabitants are still in view. Jordan will always take pride in the imprints made by Arab tribes which came from the Arabian Peninsula in Pre-Islamic times and contributed at an early date to the establishment and maintenance of ties between the Arabian Peninsula and the Mediterranean region. The city of Petra, built by the Nabatean Arabs in southern Jordan, stands as a symbol of Arab staying power, determination and contribution to the region as a whole.
The rise of Islam in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina bearing the message of enlightenment and inspiration to mankind, and its spread beyond the confines of the Arabian Peninsula, was met with opposition by existing powers. Mu'ta saw the first collision between Muslims and Byzantines, leading to the fall of a number of Muslim martyrs. Islam then registered a decisive victory along the banks of the Yarmouk. As one of the five legions of Syria, Jordan became a steadfast base and springboard for conquest and liberation. Since then, it has remained part of the Islamic Arab state and a point of contact between the Arabian Peninsula and other Muslim countries.
From the beginning of the twelfth century onwards, during the Mamluke and Ottoman periods, the region was regulated by specific administrative arrangements. Like neighbouring Arab states, Jordan saw the establishment of local administration councils with popular participation. However, during the latter phase of Ottoman rule, Jordan was the subject of discrimination exercised by the Union and Progress Committee against the Arab national identity, which led to a rejection of Turanian policy and a rebellion against the rule of those embracing this policy. The uprising was an inevitable consequence of Turkification, oppression, economic malaise, administrative corruption and the inability of the Ottoman Empire to provide a modicum of security of stability for the Arab countries as a whole. Thus the national and renascent aim of the Great Arab Revolt, which began on the ninth of Sha'ban 1334 A.H. (tenth of June, 1916 A.D.), was to unite the countries of the Arab East into one Arab state which would embrace Iraq, the Hejaz and Greater Syria, including Jordan and Palestine.
It was on this basis that Prince Faisal I announced the establishment of the first Arab government in Damascus on 5 October, 1918. However, on 22 October, Britain issued a statement dividing Greater Syria into three regions. This was done not only pursuant to the Sykes-Picot agreement, concluded in 1916, but also to enable Britain to fulfil its promise to the Zionist Movement to establish a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine. Meeting in Damascus on 6-8 March 1920, the people's representatives in the Arab East rejected any division of Arab territory, declared the unity and independence of Syria, defined its physical boundaries, and declared Faisal I King. Refusing to recognise the will of the Arab nation, Britain and France agreed at the San Remo Conference on 25 April 1920 to impose a French mandate on Syria and Lebanon and a British mandate on Iraq, Palestine and Jordan. Despite Arab opposition to those imperialist designs, a new reality was imposed by force as a result of military superiority established over Arab fighters in several battles, the last of which was at Maysalun on 27 July, 1920.
Prior to the fall of Arab rule in Syria, British forces had retreated from Syrian territory and the French captured Damascus. French forces, however, did not enter Jordan, which remained free of foreign occupation. When Trans-Jordan was placed under British influence, as called for by the Sykes-Picot agreement, the British High Commissioner in Palestine named a number of his officers to administer the territories east of the Jordan.
The Umm Qeiss agreement, concluded in a meeting on 2 September 1920 between a delegation representing the northern region and one of those officers, launched the first national political platform in Trans-Jordan. In that meeting the people called for the establishment of an Arab government in the country independent of the Mandatory government of Palestine. It called for Trans-Jordan to join Syria when union became possible. Jewish immigration to the region should be stopped and the sale of land to Jews prohibited.
In order to maintain control, Britain attempted to disrupt the unity of the Jordanian people through the establishment of local governments in Irbid, Salt and Karak. Failing to ensure security, protect the population or improve worsening economic conditions, these governments soon collapsed. Jordanians regarded the Zionist Movement as the larger threat both to themselves and to the Arab nation as a whole. The Balfour Declaration, issued on 2 November 1917 and calling for the establishment of a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine, was a powerful danger signal to Jordanians and other Arabs of the impending threat of Zionist designs. They moved to resist it and thwart the Zionist programme with every possible means. The raid launched from northern Jordan on 20 April 1920 against British military camps and Jewish settlements in Bisan and Samakh was but one chapter in the struggle and sacrifice by Jordanians in defence of Palestine remaining Arab. Support by Jordanians for the Arab character of Palestine was demonstrated in numerous ways, including popular rallies held on various national occasions.
Upon his arrival in Ma'an on 11 November 1920, Prince Abdullah Ibn Al-Hussein received the full support of Jordanians and the free Arabs who flocked to Jordan, foremost of whom were members of the Independence Party, an Arab group that had publicly launched its activities a year earlier in Iraq and Syria. They all lent their support to Abdullah's bid to liberate Syria from French rule and restore its legitimate Arab government. Thwarted by the Anglo-French alliance, Prince Abdullah forged ahead with the implementation of the principles and aims of the Great Arab Revolt, persisting in his drive to foil the designs of the Allies after they betrayed its leader Sharif Hussein Ibn Ali, who had sacrificed all, including his life, for the defence of Arab principles and rights in Palestine.
On 29 March 1921, the British reached a political settlement with Prince Abdullah calling for the establishment of the first unified national government in Trans-Jordan, over which he would preside. With participation by members of the Independence Party, the new government clearly demonstrated the national spirit of allegiance which informed the Jordanian populace. In cooperating with their brethren from the Independence Party and placing their faith in them as administrators of the country, in line with the aims of unity, freedom and independence enunciated by the Great Arab Revolt, they ensured that Jordan became a safe haven for those Arabs who were struggling against French occupation of Syria and British occupation of Palestine. The next four years witnessed a bitter struggle between the national aspirations of the new government, including its search for the liberation of Syria, and British and French interests in the region. This tug-of-war culminated in the extension of the British Mandatory authority to administrative, financial and military affairs in Jordan and led to the banishment from Jordan of the members of the Independence Party.
Despite recognition by Britain of the independence of the Emirate of Trans-Jordan on 25 May 1923, and despite a promise to strengthen relations between the two countries and to define the constitutional position of Trans-Jordan, the first Anglo-Jordanian treaty, concluded on 20 February 1928, failed to respond to Jordanian demands for a fully sovereign and independent state. This failure led to widespread disaffection with the treaty among Jordanians, prompting them to seek a national conference, the first of its kind, to examine the articles of the treaty and adopt a plan for political action. The conference was held on 25 July 1928, with the participation of a large number of leaders, notables and thinkers. Regarding itself as a legitimate representative of the Jordanian people, the conference set up an executive committee to lead the national Jordanian movement. It also issued a Jordanian National Charter. This was the first political document at the national level with a defined platform and as such was a watershed in the history of the Jordanian political and national struggle. It defined the basic political constants for that phase and underlined several important concepts. Among them were:
1.The Emirate of Trans-Jordan is an independent and sovereign Arab state within its recognised geographic borders. It is administered by an independent government headed by His Royal Highness Prince Abdullah Ibn Al-Hussein and his successors.
2.No recognition is accorded to the Mandatory Principle except in so far as it constitutes an impartial form of assistance for the country's benefit, provided that such assistance be defined through an agreement or treaty to be concluded between Trans-Jordan and Britain on the basis of reciprocal rights and mutual benefits without prejudice to national sovereignty.
3.The Balfour Declaration calling for the establishment of a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine is contrary to Britain's official undertakings and commitments to the Arabs and runs counter to religious and civil laws known to the world.
4.All parliamentary elections held in Trans-Jordan on a basis contrary to that of true representation or on the basis of the government not being answerable to parliament shall not be regarded as representative of the will or sovereignty of the nation under constitutional rules, but rather as an artificial election with no true representational value. Decisions taken by such elected members on any political, financial or legislative rights shall not have any force of law which the people will recognise. They shall rather be regarded as symptomatic of behaviour exercised by the Mandatory Authority on its own responsibility.
5.All military conscription not authorised by a responsible constitutional government will be rejected, since conscription is an indivisible component of national sovereignty. No costs will be borne on behalf of any occupying foreign force, and any levy imposed of this nature shall be regarded as money usurped from the country's needy workers and peasants. Any extraordinary legislation not based on justice, the common good or the true needs of the people shall be regarded null and void. No financial loan concluded before the establishment of parliament shall be recognised. No disposition of public lands shall be effected before approval by parliament. Any sale concluded before parliament has been assembled shall be regarded as lacking validity.
These important principles governed the political struggle of the Jordanian people for many subsequent years until the conclusion of the second Anglo-Jordanian treaty on 17 June 1946, on the basis of which Britain recognised the independence of Trans-Jordan under the name of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Immediately following the initialling of the new treaty on 22 March 1946, municipal councils in the Kingdom adopted a number of resolutions expressing the Jordanian people's desire for a declaration of independence on the basis of a system of constitutional monarchy. The Jordanian Legislative Council met on 25 May 1946, and voted unanimously to declare Jordanian territories a fully independent state with a representative, hereditary, monarchic government, to pronounce fealty to King Abdullah Ibn Al-Hussein as the constitutional monarch at the head of the Jordanian state, with the title of His Majesty the King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and to amend basic Jordanian law accordingly.
The foundations of the Jordanian State gradually became stronger. Political, social and economic awareness on the part of the Jordanian people were constantly on the rise, leading to demands for popular participation in the political decision-making process as well as for greater democracy, parliamentary representation, an end to British imperialist presence and eradication of its effects on internal policies and Jordan's Arab and international relations.
As a result of the Balfour Declaration and Britain's determination to implement the establishment of a national homeland for the Jews in Palestine, conditions in Palestine rapidly deteriorated. The Palestinian Arabs were placed under emergency rule. Their successive uprisings and armed rebellions were brutally suppressed, thus preventing any form of independence for Palestine or the establishment of a Palestinian state. Meanwhile, Palestine was opened up for Jewish immigration-civilian, military and political. A Jewish force was trained to fight alongside British forces in the second World War.
Thus, when the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 181 on 29 November 1947, calling for the partition of Palestine, and when the British Mandate came to an end on 15 May 1948, the Jewish Agency had acquired all the requisites of a state, whereas the Palestinian people were left defenceless in the face of terrorism and oppression. Arab regimes, which were then under imperialist influence, stemmed the supply of arms to the Palestinians, thus enabling the Jews, in collusion with the British, to occupy by force three quarters of Palestine on which they established their state. Large numbers of Palestinians were forcibly evacuated from their homes.
The Jordanian Arab Legion, fighting alongside other Arab armies, performed with well-attested bravery. It succeeded in holding on to those Palestinian territories which later became known as the West Bank of the Kingdom. Its glorious and honourable defence of Jerusalem, together with other battles in defence of Palestine, led to the fall of 370 martyrs and about a thousand wounded. The total strength of the Arab Legion at the time did not exceed five thousand men, armed with light weapons and limited munitions under direct British command. In addition, Jordanian volunteers took part in the fighting, side by side with Palestinian commandos and their Arab brethren who had flocked to the defence of Palestine.
Solidarity between Jordanians and Palestinians again proved to be a most important development in the wake of the 1948 war, when the two banks of the Jordan entered into a union within the framework of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Representing both banks, the Jordanian Parliament, on 24 April 1950, took the historic decision of ratifying the union.
Political and institutional developments continued apace. In January 1952, King Talal I promulgated the new Constitution passed by Parliament. The Constitution declared that the Jordanian people were part of the Arab nation, that the system of government in Jordan was a hereditary parliamentary monarchy and that the people were the source of all powers.
On 11 August 1952, King Hussein was proclaimed King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Upon His Majesty's assumption of his constitutional powers on 2 May 1953, the democratic process was invigorated. A period of great rapport with the people strengthened public aspiration for greater freedom coupled with the establishment and upgrading of the institutional framework of a modern state. Economic, political and intellectual development picked up momentum, as did Jordanian political movements. Parliamentary life flourished. In 1954, the Constitution was amended to strengthen the democratic base. Coming into effect on 1 November 1955, the amended constitution ensured that government was answerable to parliament. The government was required to present its programme to parliament and seek a vote of confidence.
On 1 March 1956, His Majesty King Hussein Arabised the high command of the Jordanian Armed Forces through removal of British officers. This momentous achievement served to emphasise national sovereignty and strengthen the Jordanian people's solidarity with their leadership. It was fully in accord with King Hussein's determination since he assumed power to ensure Jordan's freedom and further its independence. It also fulfilled the aspirations of Jordan's people and Armed Forces to achieve liberation from foreign domination. This was amply demonstrated following the nationalisation of the Suez Canal in the same year, when Jordan's King, government and people stood firmly by the side of Egypt in resisting the tripartite Israeli-French-British aggression against an Arab country.
The first parliamentary elections held on the basis of political and party pluralism took place in the latter part of 1956. During the tenure of the parliamentary government that ensued, the Arab Solidarity Agreement was signed (January 1957) and the Anglo-Jordanian Agreement was abrogated (13 March of the same year), followed by the evacuation of British forces from Jordan. However, that period proved to be short-lived and the democratic process was interrupted for a variety of internal and external reasons.
When Israel launched its aggression against the Arab countries on 5 June 1967 by attacking Egypt, Jordan joined the war under unified Arab command regardless of any consideration except its commitments to the Arab League Charter and the Arab Joint Defence Treaty. The ensuing occupation by Israel of the West Bank, the Golan Heights and Sinai was a terrible blow with the gravest of consequences for Jordan and the entire Arab World. However, the Battle of Karama on 21 March 1968, was a turning point. Not only did it check the slide towards deterioration and defeat but also proved that unity, sacrifice and a determination to hold fast were essential ingredients for ensuring victory and dissipating the myth of the enemy's invincibility.
The painful events of September 1970 proved no barrier to the continued unity and stability of the Jordanian people. Through their allegiance to their roots and their profound understanding of the dangers of disunity and disarray, Jordan's people were soon able to heal the rift and transcend the effects of that period.
The National Arab Union, established in 1971, was an attempt at reform through bridging the then existing political vacuum. However, the Union was a single political organisation which was incapable of embracing the various political forces in the country or permitting them to operate on a multi-party basis. It was not long before the Union was dissolved and its enabling law abrogated.
Since the mid-seventies, as a result of growing political awareness by the Jordanian public and of substantial economic and social development, Jordan has embarked on a new era marked by significant achievements. Among these was the establishment of several large productive enterprises and the completion of major infrastructure. The economy registered high levels of growth accompanied by great expansion in education in most regions of the country, including universities. However, these developments were not matched by equivalent progress in the political field. The absence of popular participation and the narrow base of decision-making, whether in political or economic matters, have had a negative impact in recent years on public performance and have led to a loss of public confidence in state institutions. There were other internal factors, both economic and financial, as well, together with the fact that some Arab governments failed to honour their financial commitments to Jordan, as stipulated by the Baghdad Summit of 1978, at a time when Jordan's defence burden was on the rise. The assumption was that the Arab nation would never abandon Jordan as it stood along the longest lines of confrontation with Israel, which was heavily supported by world Jewry and the United States, among many others. These factors combined led to a worsening situation by the end of the eighties, culminating in a political and economic crisis which affected most sectors of Jordanian society. With the eruption of events in southern Jordan in April 1989, a sense of tension prevailed there and in other regions of the Kingdom.
Marking an important turning-point in public affairs, these events led to a comprehensive review of official as well as popular policies and actions at all levels. His Majesty the King decided to expedite the resumption of parliamentary life interrupted in the wake of severing ties with the West Bank on 31 July 1988. General elections were held in late 1989, thus putting in place the first component of democratic practice. Peaceful movement towards greater democracy had begun. With it came a climate of political openness marked by a frank exchange of views and communication between the people and the institutions of government. A wide-ranging political dialogue ensued, with active participation by intellectuals, political leaders and all other segments of society. The democratic situation thus conceived gave rise in a variety of ways to a meeting of the minds between the Jordanian people and their leadership on the need for profound and comprehensive reform and reconstruction in all fields.
The Charter: Rationale and Aims
To complete and strengthen the process of Jordanian reconstruction, His Majesty the King ordered the establishment of a Royal Commission and charged it with the task of drawing up a National Charter which would lay the foundations and define the methods of national public activity. The Charter would also point out the way for the future, establishing general guidelines on the exercise of political pluralism in so far as it constitutes the second component of democracy. This would be accomplished on the basis of the constant tenets of the Constitution, as well as of political and national tradition. It would take cognisance of existing realities in Jordanian society in such a manner as would guarantee continued national progress and democratic change and protect them from taking an adverse course.
The Jordanian Constitution contains a range of constant general principles which regulate the form of governance in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, as well as the manner of interaction by the public with these principles. This has been in force since the inception and establishment of the Jordanian State. The Jordanian public views these principles as axiomatic and incontrovertible because they emanate from conviction, deeply-held beliefs and self-interest. These principles reflect the pride of all Jordanians in their national identity as part and parcel of the Arab nation and their faith in Islam as both the religion of the state and a defining civilisation for the people.
*Since a commitment to these constant principles would make the relentless Jordanian and national struggle for a better future a fundamental task entrusted to the government and people to an equal degree,
*And, since continued solidarity between the leadership and the people is a most important guarantee for securing Jordanian and national objectives, and, since the historical phase through which Jordan and the Arab world are currently passing is replete with challenges and dangers threatening the nation's destiny, foreshadowing a possible hegemony over its will and its freedom and testing its ability to keep up with scientific and cultural progress, to utilise its resources for the benefit of its citizenry or to share with other nations in the building of a better future for mankind as a whole,
*And, since the Jordanian Arab citizens look for progress and for acquiring the necessary means to defend their homeland and to ensure the security of their society, and since they enjoy a high sense of responsibility and a deep appreciation of the importance of their participation in securing their own and their children's future within an established and stable framework of democracy and institutional principles,
*And, since democracy can only be enhanced through emphasis on the universally recognised rights of the individual and through a guarantee of the rights of citizenship as secured by the Jordanian Constitution, and since these rights are enshrined in our great Arab and Islamic traditions and are given a place of honour therein, including the people's right to hold varying opinions as well as the right of the citizens, be they male or female, to change their circumstances and improve their lot by legal means, express their views, and resort to whatever they deem necessary for the benefit of the whole by legitimate methods, and participate in the decision-making process.
For all these reasons, therefore, the democratic option is the most efficient and appropriate means of fulfilling the aspirations of the Jordanian people and their hopes at the national, Arab and universal levels. Agreement on these approaches by all segments and by popular and official bodies at all levels has been achieved with regard to a sum of concepts, values and basic principles, as well as with regard to Jordanian and Arab objectives enunciated by the Charter. These should regulate public life and organise the state of relations among all official and popular bodies in society. Such agreement can only be regarded as an advanced form of cultural achievement and a comprehensive platform for the future. Its salient features and fundamental concepts are defined through the following set of facts, principles and constants:
The system of government in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is parliamentary, monarchic and hereditary. Adherence by all to legitimacy and to respect of the letter and spirit of the Constitution shall enhance the union between the people and their leadership.
The Jordanian people are part of the Arab nation. Arab unity is the only option that would achieve national security for Jordan and the Arab nation in all Arab countries, guarantee economic and psychological stability and ensure preservation, progress and continuity.
Faith in God, respect for spiritual values, adherence to higher principles and acceptance of the right of every individual to a life of freedom and decency are fundamental concepts in the building of the state and the achievement of progress by Jordanian society.
Islam is the religion of the state , and Islamic law is the principal source of legislation.
Arab Islamic civilisation, open to world civilisation, is the defining aspect of the national identity of the Jordanian people. It constitutes one of the bases of its unity, independence and progress in the face of division, dependence and cultural intrusion in all its forms. It is also a wellhead of innate values which Jordanian society seeks to strengthen, through science, learning, education and good example.
The Arabic language is the official language of the state. It is the language of the Holy Qur'an which has preserved for the Arab nation its true essence. It is imperative that the supremacy of Arabic be stressed by Jordanian society at all levels. Arabic should be used in all stages of education. Attention must be given to translation and Arabisation to keep abreast of accelerating scientific progress, and to the learning and teaching of other living languages.
Respect for the mind, belief in dialogue, recognition of the right of others to disagree, respect for the opinion of others, tolerance, and rejection of political and social violence are basic characteristics of Jordanian society. Pursuant to this, there is no compulsion in religion or recourse to fanaticism, sectarianism or regional bias.
Jordanian men and women are equal under the law. There shall be no distinction between them in rights and obligations regardless of difference in race, language or religion. They shall exercise their constitutional rights and uphold the higher interest of the state and the national ethic in such a manner as to ensure that the material and spiritual resources of Jordanian society are freed and directed towards achieving the national objective of unity, progress and building a better future.
Strengthening the foundations of a state governed by the supremacy of the law, and firming up the democratic process based on political pluralism are an obligation of the state's institutions, of individual members of Jordanian society and all its other bodies.
Political, party and intellectual pluralism is the means of strengthening democracy and ensuring participation by the Jordanian people in administering the affairs of the state. It serves to guarantee national unity and build a balanced civil society.
To be nationally committed is to respect the freedom of all citizens and to protect the country's security, independence and progress. National commitment contributes to the preservation of unity, the strengthening of the Jordanian people's sovereignty on their national soil, and the protection of the people's integrity under conditions removed from all forms of discrimination, fanaticism or introversion.
National independence requires a liberation of the national will from all manner of external pressure or hegemony. It is achieved and preserved through the constant and effective exercise of a national political will at all levels. This requires the development of institutions and systems and the acquisition of appropriate means and methods to effect modernisation and progress in order to meet the challenges of the future, while at the same time preserving the noble mores of Jordanian Arab society and taking pride in its innate traditions.
The Jordanian Armed Forces are the country's protective shield and the guarantors of its security and independence. The Arab Legion is in the forefront of the forces entrusted with the task of liberation and the defence of Arab integrity. The Legion's strength and effectiveness are enhanced through active support by the people and the popular army for strengthening Jordanian national security. It is the responsibility of the state and society as a whole to support the Armed Forces' capacity and preparedness and to provide the best possible conditions for their development.
An independent national economy is a true support of national independence, security and progress. It is best achieved through self-reliance, development of latent national capacities, rational use of national wealth and resources, as well as through strengthening all components of the productive base, providing capable management, and moving towards a stabilisation and integration of basic economic legislation, within a framework of social justice.
Social justice for all Jordanians requires a range of social insurance schemes, an updating of labour laws and a narrowing of income disparities in such a manner as to ensure balance and social harmony and to provide security and stability for society as a whole.
Respect for human rights, strengthening of democratic practices, guaranteeing a continued balance in development and achieving administrative efficiency in the Kingdom are fundamental national goals. They require a constant effort to promote a unified administrative system for the Jordanian state and to ensure that local councils become answerable to central authority for supervision and guidance purposes. They also require a strengthening of the social, political and economic structures of the state through supporting the concept of local administration in the various districts and governorates in such a manner as to provide practical opportunities for the people to exercise self-government, enable continued close coordination between governmental and popular bodies and lead to better democratic practices through responsible participation within a framework of balanced rights and obligations.
Jordanian universities are an important part of the country's fabric. They ought to function as beacons of intellectual enlightenment and scientific progress. To achieve this, the universities must be provided with the requisites and guarantees of academic freedom. They must be provided with the means to develop their curricula, keep abreast of knowledge, develop their capacity for scientific research and enhance their role in developing Jordanian society and meeting its needs. They must have the capacity to help build the country's institutions, provide good instruction and qualify the country's youth to solve problems and meet the challenges of the future.
The decade of the nineties is a decisive period for Jordan and the Arab World. It is imperative that our nation must acquire the means to preserve its current state of awakening and bring together the various components of its strength and solidarity in order to meet the needs of the present as well as the challenges of the twenty-first century, as reflected in the democratic revolution, the emphasis on human rights, the establishment of large economic blocs, and the explosive impact of technology and informatics.
State Governed by Law and Political Pluralism
First:The State of Law and Political Pluralism
1.The State of Law is a democratic state committed to the principle of the supremacy of the law and derives its legitimacy, authority and effectiveness from the free will of the people, and all authorities within it are committed to providing legal, judicial and administrative guarantees to protect the rights, integrity and basic freedoms of the individual, which rules were laid down by Islam and confirmed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all other international covenants and treaties promulgated by the United Nations in this regard.
2.The Jordanian State is a State of Law in the modern sense of a democratic state. It is a state for all citizens regardless of any differences of opinion or any pluralism of approach. It derives its strength from an actual and declared application of the principles of equality, justice and equal opportunities and from the provision of practical means enabling the Jordanian people to participate in the decisions affecting their lives and their affairs in such a manner as to achieve peace of mind, security, faith in the future, genuine concern for the institutions of the state and pride in belonging therein.
Second:Basic Pillars of a State of Law
1.Adherence to the letter and spirit of the Constitution by the legislative, executive and judiciary authorities in all their actions, within a framework of priority of the right.
2.Adherence to the principle of the supremacy of the law, within a framework of comprehensive review by an independent judiciary.
3.Adherence, in the exercise of democracy, to the principles and requisites of social justice.
4.Ensuring that laws in general, and laws pertaining to political parties, elections and publications in particular, are dedicated to safeguarding the citizens' basic rights and public freedoms.
5.Adoption of the democratic dialogue as the basis of expressing the views, free from any form of coercion or intellectual terrorism, at all official and public levels.
6.Adherence by all government institutions, in the exercise of their duties and services to the public and entities to the principle of complete equality. Said institutions, whether civil or military, should not be exploited by any group, party or faction for political or party purposes, without prejudice to the rights of citizens to organise themselves politically, provided that all of the above is considered as a basic condition for the success of the democratic system.
In order to strengthen the above pillars and to bolster the democratic structure of the Jordanian state and society, it is imperative to work on ensuring the following:
1.Establishing, through a special law, an autonomous body to be called the Complaints Bureau to exercise administrative inspection and review the performance of the administration and the actions of individuals therein. The Bureau shall report to Parliament and the Council of Ministers in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Constitution, laws and decrees without prejudice to the independence or jurisdiction of the judiciary.
2.Establishing, through a special law, an autonomous body to update and develop legislation based on studies and research conducted for that purpose. This body shall report to Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
3.Establishing a Constitutional Court with the following jurisdiction:
Interpreting the provisions of the Jordanian Constitution in matters referred to it by the Council of Ministers.
Deciding on matters referred to it by the courts with regard to constitutional issues arising from cases entertained before these courts.
Deciding on disputes and challenges pertaining to the constitutionality of laws and decrees which are brought before it by interested parties.
In all of the aforementioned instances, the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court shall be limited to deciding on the constitutional aspect. Decisions by the Court shall be final and binding on all state bodies and individuals.
4.Amalgamating legislation pertaining to state of emergency and state of extreme emergency sanctioned by the Constitution into one law, which would make decisions by the Council of Ministers declaring either state of emergency or specifying its duration subject to approval by Parliament, and would in all cases place all administrative decisions taken by virtue of this legislation subject to review by the High Court of Justice.
5.Restoring to Parliament the legislative powers of the Council of Ministers stipulated in Articles 114 and 120 of the Constitution, in connection with decrees of public works, public purchases and civil service.
6.Subjecting the budgets of public corporations to parliamentary approval. The budget of mixed companies where public equity amounts to fifty percent or more shall be subject to subsequent parliamentary review.
7.Taking steps to introduce constitutional amendments deemed necessary to meet development needs and to repeal provisions in the Constitution which have lost their raison d'être.
Third:Guarantees of the Democratic Approach
The most important guarantees of the democratic approach and achievement of political pluralism are the adherence to the following principles:
1.Respecting the fundamentals of democratic action by organised political groups and parties in their general conduct since it constitutes a guarantee to justice and stability.
2.Strengthening the traits of tolerance and objectivity, respect for the beliefs of others and groups in the exercise of political and party affairs, avoiding narrow personal conflicts and the slander of individuals and entities.
3.Guaranteeing the basic freedoms of all citizens in such a manner as to protect the structure of a democratic society, preserve the rights of individuals and ensure full freedom of expression and its declaration with complete liberty within the limits of the Constitution.
4.Attaining equality, justice and equal opportunities for all citizens, male and female, without discrimination.
5.Preserving the civilian and democratic character of the state, and regarding any attempt to abolish or undermine this character as invalid as it would constitute a violation of the Constitution and the pluralist principle and its perception.
Fourth:Principles and Limitations Governing the Establishment of Parties
1.Jordanians enjoy the right to establish and belong to political parties and groupings, provided that their objectives are legitimate, their methods are peaceful and their statutes do not violate the provisions of the Constitution. Laws regulating the operation of parties should not include any provisions which overtly or implicitly call for abrogating the constitutional right to establish political parties.
2.Political and party work in Jordan is based on the principle of pluralism of thought, opinion and organisation and on securing the requisites of democratic competition and its legitimate means.
3.A party must announce and declare its statutes and internal regulations which specify its aims, financial resources and political, economic, social and cultural platforms.
4.The judiciary is solely empowered to decide on any infringement pertaining to the application of the Parties Law.
5.Political parties shall, in their internal workings as well as in their programmes, approaches, actions and public and party activities, adhere to the following principles:
Parties must employ democratic methods in their internal workings, choice of leadership and in the exercise of their activities within a framework of democratic dialogue and free competition among the political parties. The same shall apply to relations and dealings by any party with other political parties and groupings as well as with popular and constitutional institutions in a spirit of mutual respect for opposing views.
There shall be no structural or financial affiliation by the leadership or members of any party with any non-Jordanian. Also, no activities by any party or grouping shall be conducted upon instructions or directions from any foreign state or body. Taking into consideration what is stated in this paragraph and all principles and limitations governing the organisation of parties, any provisions in the statute, internal regulations or programmes of any licensed Jordanian party serving Palestine, Arab unity or Islamic solidarity shall be regarded as a national Jordanian undertaking.
Any party in government or participating therein shall adhere to the principles of equality and equal opportunities for all citizens and must regard ability and qualifications as basic criteria for any appointment to public office.
In the matter of financial revenues, all parties shall rely on local, recognised, declared and specified Jordanian resources. These shall be subject to financial audit and legal review in the manner prescribed by law.
In matters of organisation, activities and orientation, all parties shall refrain from organising or recruiting for party purposes within the ranks of the Jordanian Armed Forces and security departments or establishing military or paramilitary (militia) groups of any description whatsoever.
All parties, whatever their form of organisation, shall maintain premises with known and declared addresses. Parties shall not use state, public, charitable or religious institutions or bodies for the benefit of any party or grouping. Nor shall they involve any such institutions in any political or factional conflicts.
Jordan's National Security
Jordan's national security depends to a very large extent on the resolve and inner strength of Jordanian society to ensure the defence and independent will of the country, and to provide the citizens, wherever they may reside, with the means of decent living, personal and financial security and psychological and social stability. Jordan's physical location and political stance, which place it in the front line of confrontation with the Zionist threat, require it to harness its resources, efforts and capabilities in order to meet the challenge by defending its existence and protecting its national security by all available means.
This being the case, Jordan's national security shall be based on the following considerations:
1.Jordan's security is part of Arab national security. In good times and bad, each has a direct bearing on the other. This makes Jordan's steadfastness and strength indivisible from those of the Arab nation, and emphasises the Arab dimension with regard to Jordan's strength, security and stability.
2.In its approach to national security, Jordanian policy springs from a recognition of the dangers of division and dependency which threaten the political, economic and social security of Jordan and the Arab World. This calls for a national policy emphasising independence in all fields, strengthening Jordanian society from within, increasing commitment to the homeland, instilling in the youth a spirit of sacrifice and faith in the justice of the nation's great causes and informing them of the nature, aims and alliances of the enemy and the danger they pose to the future of the Arab nation and its holy places. It also requires emphasis on the duty of Arabs and Muslims to support Jordan's efforts to preserve its security and protect Arab and Muslim holy places.
3.Jordanian national security is also dependent on inculcating the concept of professionalism in the armed forces, broadening their base, developing their capabilities and rallying the resources of the country and people to their support, to enable them to perform their duty of protecting the country and contributing to its growth and development. This would achieve greater cohesion among the various segments of society and a greater commitment to the preservation of the country's security and achievements.
4.Increased attention must be given to developing the various arms of national security to enable them to carry out their duties in the best manner possible, in accordance with their respective functions with regard to external and internal security. This must be done within a framework of respect for the dignity, freedom and constitutional rights of the citizenry coupled with a moral responsibility of promoting an atmosphere of social peace and mutual confidence between the security forces and the people in all walks of life.
5.Economic and social security for all segments of the Jordanian people is an essential component of national security. To achieve this, greater reliance must be placed on Jordan's own resources to enable the country to meet the people's basic needs in a manner that would accord due respect to the dignity of the individual and contribute to his material and psychological well-being as well as to his means of livelihood.
6.Strengthening democracy is an essential component contributing to a deeper commitment to the homeland and greater confidence in its institutions. It also contributes to solidifying the union of the Jordanian people and further protecting their national security. This must be achieved through providing the conditions for real participation by all citizens in an atmosphere of social justice, equal opportunity and a proper balance between rights and obligations.
The Jordanian economy is constrained by several factors which impede its growth and development. Most prominent of these are: scarce mineral, energy and water resources, limited area of arable land, high rates of population growth, small local market (in the absence of a workable concept of Arab economic integration), political instability in the region and an increasing national defence burden.
These constraints have led to a heavy dependence on external assistance and loans. However, the economy has achieved high rates of growth which have left a mark in varying degrees on many aspects of Jordanian life.
With the growth of the role of government in economic activities, it was natural for it to take on the responsibility of providing the infrastructure in the various regions of the Kingdom. However, in the absence of a comprehensive economic policy, proper management and effective oversight of public performance, economic sectors have shown uneven growth. The resultant income disparity has led to a contraction of the middle classes. At the same time, there has been a noticeable rise in prestige projects, conspicuous consumption by the public and private sectors, extravagant use of resources, a large increase in the public debt and a drop in economic growth rates.
In light of the above, the future outlook for economic growth and social development must be guided by the following:
1.The Jordanian economy must be based on respect for private ownership and encouragement of private enterprise. On the other hand, natural resources and strategic projects must be the property of the state, with a full right to their management and supervision in the public interest. The state must also retain the prerogative of regulating the economy and allocating resources in accordance with national priorities.
2.There must be a clear and well-defined developmental strategy based on the concept of self-reliance, release of the innovative spirit in society, a high degree of respect for work and productivity, reconstitution and development of the rural economy, harnessing and rational use of natural and human resources, development of the national productive base, improvement of services, upgrading of public administration and strengthening of financial and quality control.
3.Optimal use must be made of all available resources, coupled with the utilisation of appropriate scientific and technological means for improving productivity in a manner that would meet the needs of the citizens, provide employment opportunities, improve and diversify income and raise the standard of living.
4.Economic decisions must be declared, legal, objective, institutionally-based and free of any personal interest or individual consideration.
5.Reliance must be placed on up-to-date and accurate data in the formulation of socio-economic policy and in the decision-making process. To that end, prompt data collection, documentation and publication must be emphasised.
6.Emphasis must be placed on the right of establishing trade unions in all economic sectors, including agriculture, and the regular updating of labour and trade union legislation to ensure an minimum wage and continuous training of the labour force, and to regulate relations between employers, workers and government within a balanced framework of rights, obligations and roles.
7.Employment opportunities must be provided to all citizens. Policies and measures must be adopted to achieve this objective, particularly through national plans encouraging labour-intensive economic activities, better working conditions, an improved educational system geared towards the needs of society and a greater social value attached to work of any kind.
8.Combating poverty and its effects must be made a strategic goal of the Jordanian state and a national responsibility requiring the provision of employment opportunities to all who can and want to work, with first priority to be given to Jordanians. Also, there must be a just regional and social distribution of services and development projects with the objective of meeting basic needs, marginalising poverty and reducing its impact on the individual and society.
9.Expatriate Jordanians must be regarded as part of the social and economic structure of the state and, hence, measures must be taken to ensure a better knowledge of their conditions, more effective communication with them and closer links with their home base. This must be achieved through watching over their interests in the workplace, ensuring a proper exercise of their citizens' rights and facilitating the fulfilment of their obligations and commitments to the state.
10.Water must be regarded as a basic factor on which the future of development in Jordan very heavily depends. This requires a clear exercise by the state over ownership, sovereignty, preservation, development, management, storage, transportation and use of water resources within a set of clear national policies and priorities.
11.The roles of all economic sectors-private, public, mixed and cooperative- must be integrated, and objective conditions must be provided for their growth, with due recognition to the role of each sector. Performance must be evaluated according to defined economic and social considerations. Financial exemptions enjoyed by public companies and institutions which operate on a commercial basis must be eliminated, while ensuring that no conflict arises with the provisions or objectives of the Encouragement of Investment Law.
12.The centrality to the national economy of the agricultural sector in Jordan must be recognised and accorded the priority and attention it deserves. Also, the roles of agricultural institutions must be activated and integrated in the areas of combating desertification and urban encroachment, and developing and disseminating agricultural research and extension. Agro-industries, productivity, marketing, and livestock development must be regarded as an essential element of national policies aimed at achieving food security.
13.Stress must be placed on industries with a high value-added element arising from the use of local materials and other components, and favourable conditions and incentives must be provided for their growth and development. Competition must be promoted among the various national industries.
14.Services utilising domestic expertise must be developed and marketed, as they constitute a basic component of the national economy. Also, in so far as tourism is a major source of national income, the tourist potential must be developed to the full through marketing, development of tourist and archaeological sites, encouraging domestic tourism, cultural activities and Jordanian folklore, and supporting traditional trades in all regions of the Kingdom.
15.Economic and financial legislation must be unambiguous and complementary in nature. It must be updated in line with evolving domestic and external variables. Savings must be encouraged and a favourable investment climate provided. Procedures must be streamlined.
16.Financial and tax legislation must be regularly updated while ensuring a measure of flexibility to meet the evolving economic and social needs of Jordanian society, because such legislation is an important means of developing and regulating the national economy and a basic requirement for balanced national development which leads to reducing income disparity and achieving social justice.
17.Public borrowing by the state and its various institutions must be regulated in accordance with the Kingdom's priorities and basic needs. Domestic and external loans, and any other loans guaranteed by the government, must be made subject to parliamentary approval.
18.There must be close cooperation and coordination between government bodies and specialised social institutions in the ecological field, as all citizens have a right to a clean and balanced environment. Protection of the environment from pollution is a national responsibility towards present and future generations. Awareness must be disseminated to ensure an environmentally sensitive public outlook and a high level of public understanding of pollution problems. Measures must be taken to achieve a balance between environmental needs and the development imperative. Criteria must be set and legislation enacted to deal with the negative ecological impact of certain types of development projects.
The Social Aspect
1.Jordanian society derives its mores and values from the Arab and Islamic system of values, as well as from the universal human ethic. Relationships among its people are based on the bond of citizenship. Societal development rests on participation by all segments and institutions in the process of construction and production, with the common objective of achieving integrated social growth under conditions of freedom, equality and social justice.
2.The system is also based on respect for the individual as pointed out in the Almighty's dictum: "We have bestowed blessings on Adam's children." State institutions must, therefore, ensure the dignity and rights of all citizens, as guaranteed by the Constitution and affirmed by international conventions. Individuals and groups must play their part in protecting these rights and observing the principles of justice, equality and equal opportunity for all.
3.The family is the principal block of society. It is the natural environment for the rearing, education and personality growth of the individual. The official and popular institutions of the state must provide for the formation, cohesion and well-being of the family. They must assist it in the task of providing future generations with a sound upbringing.
4.Good motherhood is the basis of good childhood, to which every child has a natural right. State and society must provide special care for mothers and children, ensuring working mothers' rights to maternity leave and child-care facilities, including health and social guarantees, good working conditions and appropriate support amenities.
5.Children have the right to expect the best possible level of care and protection from parents as well as from the state. This must be geared towards the development of their independent and cooperative personalities, without any discrimination between males and females.
6.Women are men's partners and equals in contributing to the growth and development of Jordanian society. This requires an affirmation of women's constitutional and legal right to equality, guidance, training and employment as a means of enabling them to play their proper role in the growth and development of society.
7.Youth constitute both the future of society and its renewable human wealth. The state must draw up policies and national programmes aimed at harnessing the resources of the country's youth, qualifying them for responsibility, productive work, innovation and creativity, protecting them from delinquency and directing their creative energies towards constructive development.
8.The handicapped have a right to special care, education, training, rehabilitation and employment, thus enabling them to overcome their difficulties and become productive members of Jordanian society.
9.Attention must be paid to the concept of social partnership in Jordanian society through expanding social benefits and developing the Zakah (Alms) Law with the aim of regulating it, unifying and upgrading collection and ensuring the achievement of its basic objectives.
10.Voluntary work must be based on the concept of national commitment and social partnership. Attention must be paid to the establishment of voluntary societies and clubs and providing them with incentives conducive to effective participation, to strengthening the positive values of Jordanian society and to rejuvenating the Arab and Islamic traditions of partnership, amity and altruism.
Culture, Education, Science and Information
In its intellectual, artistic and creative aspects, Arab and Islamic culture is the fountainhead of Jordanian national culture through which the quality of Jordanian life is enhanced. It is a symbol of the Arab nation's sturdiness, the source of its material and moral strength. and the epitome of its unity and steadfastness in the face of foreign cultural incursions. Jordanian culture is also part of the aspirations, issues and challenges of contemporary Arab culture.
This predicates the following:
1.The Arab language is the nation's tongue and its means of expressing its cultural identity. It is the repository of the nation's thought, learning and values, and the vehicle of knowledge transfer. It must be preserved and developed. Translation from and into Arabic must be activated. Scientific and academic institutions must be urged to participate in the process of Arabisation and publication in Arabic in all literary and technical fields.
2.Care must be extended to preserving, expounding and documenting the nation's heritage through sound scientific methods. It must be published and disseminated within the means available, and in cooperation with Arab, Islamic and international organisations concerned with the nation's heritage and contemporary culture.
3.Pride in Arab and Islamic history must be strengthened, recalling the positive contribution of the Arab nation at the global level. Jordan's history must be documented, its archaeology preserved and its facts studied, taught and expounded. The role of the national will of the Jordanian people in shaping its present and its future must be highlighted.
4.Attention must be paid to enhancing the cultural attainments of Jordanian citizens in all regions of the Kingdom through promoting and developing national culture by all available means, enabling meaningful participation in the process of comprehensive cultural growth.
5.Due care must be extended to the instruments of disseminating national culture, including libraries, data bases, theatres, exhibitions and museums, projecting the cultural achievements of the Jordanian people.
6.Care must be extended to all forms of Jordanian folklore, as they constitute a creative and enriching part of national culture. They must be brought abreast of the modern age in a manner that would serve to integrate the nation's cultural fabric.
7.The right of Jordanian thinkers, men of letters, artists and poets to ready access to various cultures must be ensured as a means of enriching and invigorating the national culture-without detriment to Arab and Islamic values.
8.Copyright must be respected. Legislation protecting copyright and patents must be updated.
Jordanian education is an evolving and integrated system. Its philosophical underpinning is expressive of the nation's thought and values. It is based on the enduring tenets of the Islamic faith, the supreme values of the Arab nation and the Jordanian national experience.
From this grows the following:
1.The educational policy in Jordan must ensure an integrated spiritual, physical, psychological, mental and social growth of an individual who is aware of his rights, cognisant of his obligations, committed to his country, proud of his nation, imbued with the scientific spirit and democratic values, believing in human rights and in the principles of justice, goodness and equality, and capable of being usefully productive and creatively enterprising.
2.Education of the young must be based on faith in God, in the authentic character of the Arab nation and in its amenability to renewal and creativity in all walks of life.
3.The educational system must endeavour to promote independent and creative thinking through activating incentives for work, seriousness of purpose, precision and distinction as well as through directing education towards equipping the individual for the future. To achieve this, attention must be paid to the upgrading of intellectual processes and psychological stamina to meet future challenges and dangers. Sound methodologies of scientific and critical thought must be developed by upgrading the skills of extrapolation, deduction, comprehension and rational interaction with knowledge.
4.The educational system must be linked with the requirements of production. The educational process must produce the qualified manpower that the country needs now and in the future.
5.The educational system must be both comprehensive and flexible. It must make special provisions for the gifted, who must be given opportunities commensurate with their capabilities and aptitudes to ensure that society reaps the benefit of their potential contribution. Similarly, care must be extended to educating the handicapped, integrating them into the system at an early age and providing them with productive skills.
6.Arabic must be the language of instruction at all levels and in all fields. To this end, methods of teaching Arabic must be developed, as must the approach of teaching it to speakers of other languages. Also, the learning of other living languages must be stressed to enable the youth to familiarise themselves with literary, scientific and other output in those languages and to maintain contact with other peoples.
7.The teaching profession must be accorded the attention it deserves in order for it to occupy a suitable place among the other professions. Teachers should receive proper training. They must be given the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process. Their educational attainments and standard of living must be improved.
Third : Science and Technology
Science and technology have a central role in the development of society, as well as in solving social and economic problems, strengthening Jordanian and Arab security, enabling society to deal with changing conditions and contributing to world civilisation.
There are several requisites for an effective contribution by science and technology:
1.A clear political decision and national will must exist to acquire, transfer, develop and utilise technology to meet the country's needs on the basis of careful planning which relies on indigenous institutions and on an advanced system of education.
2.The scientific method must govern the people's way of thinking. It must be utilised for solving problems and enhancing the ability of Jordanian society to transform raw data into a system of knowledge which can be applied in various fields. National data banks must be established for this purpose.
3.Special emphasis must be placed on the teaching of science and mathematics, with due attention to their application, at all levels and in all types of educational institutions.
4.Society as a whole must acquire the culture of science and technology in order to be able to interact in an effective and rational manner with advanced technological processes.
5.A climate of academic freedom must be provided, together with the resources for advanced scientific research. Also, research must be geared towards meeting the developmental needs of Jordan in all areas. Arabic must be the medium of research and development activities as well as a vehicle for innovation and publication.
6.Jordan's natural resources must be developed, whilst guarding against the negative effects of technology, preserving the ecological balance and protecting the living environment from pollution.
Fourth:Information and Communications
Rapidly accelerating advances in science and technology, coupled with the effects of the communications revolution, have given communications and the mass media a principal role in shaping knowledge, convictions and attitudes. The mass media also play an important role in strengthening the democratic process.
The following are requisites in this field:
1.Jordan's information philosophy must be based on the principles of freedom, national responsibility, respect for the truth and regard for the values of the Arab and Islamic nation.
2.Freedom of thought and expression, and access to information, must be viewed as a right of every citizen, as well as of the press and other mass media. It is a right enshrined in the Constitution and should under no circumstances be abridged or violated.
3.Official and popular institutions must contribute to the training of personnel in the information field with a view to enabling them to perform their tasks objectively and impartially.
4.Citizens must have access to facts and information from legitimate transmission and publication sources within Jordan and abroad. Censorship of classified material should not prevent the citizens from exercising this right.
5.Jordanian citizens and political groups must have the right to use the national mass media to state their opinions and give expression to their cultural, intellectual, technical and scientific creativity. The state must draw up policies to ensure the exercise of this right.
6.Information and communications media must serve as channels of conveying the country's image, culture and achievements to the world, and as a means of transferring new knowledge and cultural and scientific advances to the citizens. This requires an enhancement of national capabilities and recourse to expert services.
7.Information media must have a formative role in shaping citizen attitudes of commitment to their country and nation and pride in their Arab and Islamic heritage. This function must be exercised in a manner that would integrate the roles of the family, schools and places of worship in developing citizens' awareness, knowledge and attitudes and would contribute to preserving social harmony and national unity while countering the harmful effects of hostile propaganda.
8.All information media must strive to provide a climate of freedom conducive to the growth of Jordanian society through enlightened knowledge and honest reporting. They must shun any encroachment on the freedom of individuals or their personal lives.
9.General policies of the information media in Jordan must strengthen respect for the human mind and intelligence and for the individual's right to freedom of expression. They must provide an appropriate climate to encourage creativity and innovation.
10The state must guarantee the right and freedom of Jordanian individuals, groups and institutions to own and publish newspapers in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. Legislation must be enacted to regulate the financing of newspapers with the aim of protecting them from external influence.
11.The circulation of news and data must be regarded as an indivisible part of the freedom of the press and information. The state must guarantee free access to information to the extent that it does not jeopardise national security or the national interest. It must enact legislation to protect journalists and other information personnel in the fulfilment of their duties and to provide them with material and psychological security.
12.The mass media must be committed to the service of the country as a whole. They must not be used to propagate the particular philosophy of any political party or group or to give publicity to the work of individuals in any government in power. Citizens must be given the opportunity to participate in drawing up mass-media policies through special boards to be established for this purpose.
The Jordanian-Palestinian Relationship
The facts of the close historical and geographic relationship between Jordan and Palestine over the ages, together with the nature of the national affiliation and cultural position of Jordanians and Palestinians in the present and the future, have endowed this relationship with a special and distinctive character. It is bolstered by the strong ties and deep common interests that exist between them. It is imperative, therefore, that this relationship be preserved and strengthened in the racist, Zionist and imperialist threat which endangers the existence, civilisation and sacred heritage of the Arab nation and marks Jordan out as a target as it had previously targeted Palestine.
In the light of these facts, the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship must be based on the following principles:
The Palestinian Arab identity is a political identity forged by struggle. It is not and must not be contradictory to the Arab Jordanian identity. The only contradiction lies with the Zionist settler programme. Just as the national Palestinian identity is the antithesis of the Zionist programme and hence struggles to dismantle it, the Jordanian national identity, viewed from this perspective, is also an antithesis of the Zionist programme and hence fortifies Jordan against Zionist designs and claims. In this light, Jordan and Palestine are one Arab coin struck by their shared struggle to stand up to the expansionist Zionist programme and firmly reject the alternative homeland conspiracy.
Political variables at the Arab and international levels, together with developments in the Jordanian Palestinian arena, resulted in the severing of administrative and legal ties with the West Bank, with which the Palestine Liberation Organisation agreed. They also led to the declaration of an independent Palestinian state under the leadership of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and to recognition by Jordan of the Palestinian state. This has given rise to a new reality which emphasises the special and distinctive nature of the Jordanian Palestinian relationship and establishes the conditions for placing it on a right footing and basing it on a clear set of principles.
On this basis, the Jordanian-Palestinian relationship must not be understood or exploited under any conditions whatsoever to imply any curtailment of the rights of citizenship or to lead to a weakening of the Jordanian state from the inside or to create conditions leading to the realisation of Zionist designs to make Jordan an alternative to the Palestinian homeland. From this perspective, a commitment to Jordan's national security becomes the responsibility of all citizens and serves to emphasise their continued struggle and sacrifice for the liberation of Palestine and the preservation of Jordan and its identity.
Since the unity-infused relationship between the states of Jordan and Palestine is a matter of future inevitability, the maintenance of this relationship requires respect for the choices to be made by Jordanians and Palestinians in achieving the best formulations for union between them as a model for comprehensive Arab unity.
On the basis of the above, national Jordanian unity is the solid base on which close relations must exist among the citizens in the Jordanian state. In addition, because it is impossible to distinguish on the ground between the Jordanian Arab people regardless of their origins, this unity must be protected and strengthened in such a manner as to bolster Jordan's sturdiness, preserve its national security, defend the domestic front, guarantee equal opportunities for all citizens without discrimination and safeguard their legitimate rights and interests as enshrined in the Constitution.
Jordanian, Arab, Islamic and International Relations
Jordan is an indivisible part of the Arab and Islamic nation. Hence, its national identity is Arab just as Islam is the faith of the nation, the fountainhead of its civilisation and the source of values which govern its conduct.
In the light of these facts, the people, leadership and democratic institutions of Jordan firmly believe in the inevitability of union among the Arab states and aspire to achieve union by all legitimate means. They also aspire to establishing effective Arab-Islamic solidarity and contributing to the formulation of a new and balanced world order in which international relations are built on equivalent interests, respect for the will of the peoples and their right to independence, freedom and security, and a sharing in the achievement of progress and protection of human rights-free from hegemony or the usurpation of political decisions.
To achieve these aims, Jordan is guided by its own experience as part of the Arab nation, as well as by its realistic and future view of the importance of the Arab and Islamic dimensions of the world scene. Jordan believes that the achievement of its national Arab objectives requires a unity-based Arab programme in accordance with the following principles:
The Arab homeland, in its historical, geographic, material and cultural aspects, is the natural home of the Arab nation. Arab unity is the fundamental base. It is also the real response to the current state of disarray. It is the objective solution to the economic and social problems and issues arising from this disarray. It is the path of transcending division, backwardness and the best means for a better future for the Arab nation.
The nature of the challenges imposed on Jordan and the Arab nation and the magnitude of the threat confronting the Arab homeland demand a positive response to the national sentiment which permeates all regions of the Arab homeland. They further require a will to achieve Arab unity in order to defend Arab existence and identity and protect the common national interests of the Arab nation in all Arab states.
The Arab society to which Jordan aspires is one that is informed by the democratic principle, believes in Arab unity and subscribes to the conviction that the strategic resources of the Arab homeland belong to the entire Arab nation and must be placed in the service of Arab society to build its economy and strengthen its national security.
Achieving these ends requires the following:
1.The democratic principle must be upheld, preserved, promoted and disseminated. Arab national security must be strengthened in all its dimensions and at all levels through a proper understanding of the requirements and conditions of this objective.
2.There must be a commitment to the great causes and national priorities of the Arab people. Every Arab country must clarify its position in this regard. The degree of clarity and sincerity of these positions is the only objective measure of state policies and national intentions.
3.A form of unity must be sought among those Arab states believing in unity, in accordance with objective state and national criteria and in such a manner as to protect the interests of the citizens of each state in the light of its own specific character.
4.Disarray among states must be transcended in all its forms. Resort must be sought in comprehensive economic and social development within a national Arab framework. Economic complementarities must be established to ensure collective self-sufficiency through the upgrading of human resources, development of natural resources and strengthening of joint Arab action.
5.Pan-Arab plans and policies must be drawn up to prepare the Arab nation in all Arab countries for the task of liberating Arab territories, with Palestine at the top of the agenda. Also, resources and capabilities of the Arab homeland must be harnessed and organised to achieve a unity of purpose, preserve the dignity of the Arab citizens and make possible the restoration of usurped Arab rights.
6.Arab culture, together with national and Islamic feeling and commitment, must be nurtured and promoted by Jordanian society. Inspiration must be sought from the pioneering legacy of the Arab nation as a means of reinvigorating the Arab cultural role on the world stage.
7.A clear and stable foundation must be established for closer Jordanian-Arab- Islamic relations on the basis of the nation's faith, values and common history. The great causes of the Arab and Islamic worlds must be brought to the fore in the face of the challenges and dangers which threaten the interests of the Arab and Islamic nations to an equal degree.
8.Jordan's international relations in all fields must be based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and balanced interests, and also on the basis of the attitudes of individual states to Arab causes, foremost of which is the Palestinian issue.
9.Jordan must contribute to the formulation of international relations in accordance with fixed criteria based on respect for the freedom, independence and right of peoples to self-determination, in addition to principles of right, justice, equality, a just peace among nations, a respect for human rights and a rejection of discrimination and international hegemony in all its forms.
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