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Speeches
Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II
On the Occasion of Jordan’s Independence Day
Amman, Jordan
24 May 2007

(Translated from Arabic)
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate,

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Allow to me extend my greet you and wish everyone in the homeland many happy returns.

On this blessed day, I convey my congratulations. While we celebrate a precious occasion, dear to every citizen, man and woman, of our united Jordanian family, of the children and grandchildren of the patriots who started our homeland's march, who made the greatest sacrifices for independence, and whose great achievements are the foundation of our proud country, Jordan… the country that embodies the message and principles of the Great Arab Revolt which was led by the father of revolutionaries and the father of the free, the Hashemite Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali, may God bless his soul, who sacrificed everything for the sake of the Revolt. And as a sign of faithfulness to those men, we stand firm in abiding by the principles, stances and message for which they offered their sacrifices.

The most appropriate celebration of independence is building on our founders' achievements by moving forward with our vision for a strong, prosperous and invincible Jordan, where our children and grandchildren enjoy freedom, security and a decent life.

Every citizen of the homeland has the duty to contribute, each according to his or her own capacity, to the realisation of our vision of Jordan's future. All are partners in this march, and partners in a society of justice, equality and equal opportunity. We are all Jordan, and we are all for Jordan.

At home, brothers, we remain committed to our pledge to realise comprehensive development. We are moving forward, praise be to God, with sure steps to ensure that our youth enjoy a decent life, and to build a strong economy that draws on our human resources, for which we are providing training and development. Our vision for education and capacity building is very clear, and in spite of all the challenges and constraints, achievements are being realised in all areas.

With Jordanians' resolve and determination, with serious, diligent work, we will realise all our ambitions, God willing.

Our natural resources may be limited, and regional conditions may be challenging, but God forbid that these should be cause for hesitation or an excuse for laxity.

We are keen to enhance and entrench our democratic march, and to activate the role of civil society and respect the principle of pluralism, within the framework of national unity. Pluralism and diversity are tributaries that enrich our society, and enable citizens to be free to choose and express themselves.

Municipal elections are ahead of us this summer, to be followed by parliamentary elections. This, as I have said before, is a reaffirmation of our abidance by the articles of the Constitution, and our keenness to enable citizens' participation in decision making.

Here allow me to reiterate that public service is about answering a call to duty and assuming responsibility. It is not just about gaining prestige. Public service requires knowledge and experience. It also demands that personal interests be subordinated to the national public good. In this context, the upcoming elections will constitute a chance for every citizen in this country to express the true concept of citizenship and belonging; whether by running for elections or by voting for their representatives in the municipality or parliament.

Every citizen owes it to the homeland to exercise his or her right to vote. To elect is an expression of trust that every citizen should place with those who deserve it… people known for their honesty, efficiency and sense of belonging. Let no one be deceived by flashy slogans, nor by endless promises.

The duty of deputies is to monitor and legislate. Every deputy represents the entire homeland, not just a single neighbourhood or tribe or party. An intrinsic part of every deputy's role as a monitor is to fight favouritism and nepotism, not to practice or turn a blind eye to them.

We need a parliament that shares the nation's vision for the next stage of development, and understands the need for legislation appropriate to this stage.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Since the very beginning of the Arab-Israeli conflict, Jordan has stood firmly by our Palestinian brothers and supported them. Jordan paid a steep price for this stance over the past decades, and has borne, for the sake of the Palestinian cause, a cost exceeding its capabilities and capacities. Sharif Al Hussein Bin Ali was the first to pay a price for the defence of Palestine's Arab identity and for refusing to negotiate or concede a single Arab right. After that, our founding father sacrificed his life for this stance. As for my father, may God bless his soul, everybody, near and far, knows how much he suffered and how much he endured, for the sake of this cause.

All Jordanians, regardless of their origins and affiliations, have endured, suffered and sacrificed greatly to defend the Palestinian cause. All of us know that in every Jordanian city, village or tribe there were soldiers and officers who fought bravely and honourably in Palestine's defence; and there were casualties: soldiers and officers who were wounded or martyred. Those who did not fight on the battlefield were also affected by the devastation of the wars we fought to defend Palestine… and they have paid for these wars with their suffering and their children's bread.

In spite of all these sacrifices, Jordan and the Jordanians, and Hashemite Kings, were unfairly accused; their role was doubted, their sacrifices denied. They were even accused of treason.

Today, after so many long years, events and history have proven the authenticity of the Jordanian stance; and the world and Arab brethren today recognise the honourable role which Jordan – her leadership and her people alike – played, and the tremendous sacrifices they made.

We do not say this to defend our position, nor to outbid the stances of others, as others do. And we do not seek gratitude. We did our duty, and we therefore do not expect to be thanked. We say this on our Independence Day so that Jordanian citizens will always remember that this country has never neglected its duties towards the Arab nation, or toward the Palestinian cause. Jordanian citizens have the right to hold their heads up high and keep them high.

Today, we again reaffirm that Jordan will continue to defend Arab rights in Palestine, until the day the Palestinian people regain their rights in full, and establish their independent state on their soil, and enjoy, in that state, freedom, independence and decent life. Jordan will continue its diplomacy, using every possible forum around the world to call for the realisation of permanent and comprehensive peace that guarantees rights and preserves dignity of those to whom these rights are due.

There is today an international sense of urgency, and an Arab political will, to settle this issue justly, through a two-state solution. Here we have the Arab Peace Initiative, unanimously approved by the Arabs at the Beirut Summit of 2002, and reaffirmed by the Riyadh Summit… this Initiative is based on international resolutions and does not forfeit a single Arab right… It offers a real opportunity to regain Palestinian and Arab rights, and to establish an independent Palestinian state.

This opportunity must be seized. The world's compassion for the Palestinian people, its conviction that this suffering should be ended and its support for the Arab Peace Initiative must be capitalised upon before it is too late and we loose this historic opportunity, as we have lost other opportunities before.

Accordingly, we will continue to support this Initiative and promote it throughout the international community, including Israel.

When we talk about the Palestinian issue, and call on the world to commit itself to ending the injustice which the Palestinian people suffer, and pressure Israel to accept this Initiative, we are not speaking on the Palestinians' behalf. We are neither a substitute for them, nor are we their guardian. Our only goal is to help them regain their rights and establish their independent state on their Palestinian land. As I said, this is our duty, and that of all Arabs and Muslims. The Palestinian issue concerns all of us, and Palestinian suffering is our suffering.

We will continue our efforts to unite the Arab discourse, so that the Arabs' voice will be strong and resonant with the Arab people's aspiration to join ranks and strengthen the Arab front.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Since the beginning, we have warned about the danger of sectarian conflict and sedition, and about the violence and terrorism that threaten to destroy our present and future by turning this region into an arena for interference and struggle between regional and international powers, who have their own agendas in this region.

Accordingly, we have worked, and continue to work, to enhance and entrench the principles of moderation, tolerance, understanding and coexistence. These are the principles that befit a nation that is best among others and represent Islam's tolerant message.

We will continue to confront sectarian strife, fanaticism and extremism, so that we will not give the nation's enemies the chance to distort is doctrine, culture, history and future.

As for our brothers in Iraq… we witness everyday, scores, or maybe hundreds, of them becoming victims of violence, terrorism and discord. We have stood by all the Iraqi people, and will continue to do so. And we will do all that we can to alleviate their suffering, help rebuild the state's institutions, and restore security and stability to this country and this brotherly people who are dear to all of us.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

On this day… on Independence Day we all express our heartfelt congratulations, and salute with pride the homeland's chivalrous men and women, in the Arab Army and security institutions, because they are the symbols of independence and sovereignty; and because they are the watchful eyes over this homeland's security and stability, and the shield that protects its march and achievements. I personally convey a comrade-in-arms greeting to every soldier, every officer and every non-commissioned officer, in every trench and in every camp, who is performing the duty of the homeland, and that of honour and bravery, on the soil of this dear homeland.

As for youth, in whom I have great confidence, and for whom I have the highest hopes, I say on this day: you are creating the future, you are the knights of change. Enhancing independence and building the future of which this homeland and its sacrifices are worthy is your duty, and you are the ones who are most able to fulfil this duty. All of us have faith in you, and we look forward to the day when we see you as distinguished leaders in all spheres of life, where you will contribute to decision-making, and implementation of these decisions on the ground.

My hope is that youth will have an effective role in the upcoming elections; a role that reflects their awareness in choosing those who represent their aspirations and their vision of the future.

Finally, my brothers and sisters, children of the unified Jordanian family… the generous and gracious Jordanian people… to you I convey my best wishes on this great occasion… many happy returns of the day to all of you… and for our dear beloved Jordan.

Peace, God's mercy and blessings be upon you.