Jordan. According to
Countryaah, the 1994 peace agreement with Israel still did
not give a concrete dividend and unemployment remained high.
Support for Islamist movements grew, which worried King
Hussein to such an extent that during the year he
interrupted the progress towards democracy he initiated in
In March, the king dismissed Prime Minister Abd al-Karim
Kabariti, according to some information due to disagreement
between them about the country's policy towards Israel.
Replacement was the former Prime Minister Abd as-Salam
al-Majali, who later during the year led J's delegation in
the peace talks with Israel.
In September, Israeli agents attempted to assassinate one
of Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement) leaders, Khalid
Mashal, by stabbing a syringe at him on an open street in
Amman. After pressure from King Hussein, Israel handed over
an antidote that saved Mashal's life. The agents were
arrested and the king could, in exchange for handing them
over to Israel, cause Hamas's founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin,
to be released from Israeli prison along with some 50 other
prisoners, mainly Palestinians. The drama led to increased
support for both King Hussein and Hamas.
On November 4, Jordan went to election. The largest
opposition party Islamic Action Front - the Muslim
Brotherhood's political branch - and other parties called
for a boycott in protest at the King's introduction of a new
press law that forced 13 newspapers to close. The turnout
was below 50%. The King's supporters won 62 of the 80 seats,
while the rest of the seats went to independent nationalists
and Islamists who stood outside the boycott.
That the Islamic Front of Action distanced itself from
the country's political process worried analysts. The fact
that the Islamists were sitting in Parliament was seen as a
guarantee that they would not resort to violence, as they
did in e.g. Egypt and Algeria where their movements are
Following the parliamentary elections, the Islamic Action
Front and eight other parties planned to launch a campaign
to, among other things, stop the approach to Israel.
However, the groups assured that they intended to use
In March, a Jordanian soldier shot seven Israeli
schoolgirls on an outing at the border between the two
countries. He was sentenced in July to life in prison for
murder. That he was not sentenced to the death penalty was
because the court judged him as mentally unstable.