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Egypt, Jordan Join Arab League in Resisting Normalization

Egypt and Jordan have joined Arab countries at war with Israel in saying they will not normalize ties before an Israel-PA peace deal is signed.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/10/2009, 10:16 PM

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Recently, the Arab League declared that Arab countries would not normalize ties with Israel until Israel gives in to Arab demands. Senior officials in Egypt and Jordan have made it clear that their countries – both of which have signed peace deals with Israel – would resist normalization as well.

In Jordan, professional associations representing more than 150,000 Jordanians were thrown into turmoil by reports that a Jordanian media delegation had visited Jerusalem. Association heads accused the journalists of normalizing ties with Israel – a step that Arab League head Amr Moussa warned last week could be met with violence.

The Jordanian Committee for Anti-Normalization called to expel the journalists from the country's press association.

On Wednesday, the Jordan Press Association slammed critics of the visit, saying their worry was premature. “The visit is not an act of normalization at all,” said JPA President Abdul Zgheilat. The journalists were in Jerusalem to study Jordanian achievements in the city, including the preservation of Muslim and Christian holy sites, he said.

Egypt: 'No Cultural Exchange'
Also this week, the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) made available an interview shown on Egyptian television in late July. In the interview, Egyptian Minister of Culture Farouq Husni states, “Our relationship with Israel is at a complete standstill as long as there is no lasting peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis.”

Husni further clarified that there can be “no cultural exchange” with Israel until Israel signs a final status agreement with the PA.

The interviewer then asked Husni how he could invite Daniel Barenboim - “the Israeli conductor Barenboim” - to visit Egypt. Barenboim holds Israeli citizenship, and the interviewer implied that his visit was a form of normalization with Israel.

While Barenboim holds Israeli citizenship, Husni said, he also holds a PA passport. As such, Barenboim was invited to Egypt “as a Palestinian,” he said, and not as an Israeli.