Prince of Jordan claims water and energy for Gaza Strip at the World Congress for Middle East Studies

The most important conference on Middle East studies is being held close to Barcelona from today until the 24th of July. In the opening ceremony, Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan, uncle of King Abdullah, has denounced the current situation in Gaza

CNA / Maria Fernández

July 20, 2010 12:49 AM

Cerdanyola del Vallès (CNA).- In today’s inauguration of the World Congress for Middle East Studies (WOCMES), which is being held at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona’s campus in Bellaterra, the former Crown Prince of Jordan has spoken out against Israel’s embargo in the Gaza Strip and has demanded for water and energy to be sent to the zone. Prince Hassan bin Talal has made a strong speech that has surprised the audience for being far from protocol. He has also criticised that the harmony of the zone depends on the will of four powers: Israel, the United States, Turkey and Iran. WOCMES is taking place from today in Bellaterra, next to Barcelona, until the 24th of July. It is considered the world’s most importance expert conference on the Middle East.
WOCMES’ opening ceremony has had a clear focus of attention: Prince Hassan bin Talal’s speech. Far from the protocol, the uncle of King Abdullah II of Jordan has criticised the situation in the Gaza Strip, claiming that Gaza’s population have access to water and energy. In addition, Prince Hassan has literally said, regarding an article published by a Malaysian journalist criticising Jordan’s monarchy, “Go fuck yourself”, far away from any protocol.

With more than 2,700 participants coming from 72 different countries, WOCMES is the world’s leading conference on Middle East studies. After 2 previous editions (in Germany in 2002 and in Jordan in 2006), it has become an expert meeting point on current Mediterranean, Middle East and Muslim Asian States. WOCMES’ main objectives are to facilitate a knowledge exchange among researchers, foster networking and joint projects, as well as focus on different approaches and multi-discipline work. The conference is organised by the European Institute of the Mediterranean (IEMed), whose headquarters are in Barcelona.

Besides, the Vice President of the Catalan Government, Josep-Lluís Carod-Rovira, who is heading the department of External Relations, has emphasised the conference’s goal. WOCMES’ objective is “to have an actual incidence” on Euro-Mediterranean and Union for the Mediterranean’s policy-making.

Carod-Rovira has spoken about “a Catalonia that does not give up, that defends its values”. He has explained that Catalonia is going through “a linguistic adventure”, while pronouncing some words in Arabic. The Catalan Vice President has underlined how the Mediterranean Sea defines an identity and how the Franco dictatorship tried “to steal the origins of Catalans, but unfortunately they did not succeed at it”.

Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan has criticised the Gaza embargo

The former Crown Prince of Jordan (from 1965 to 1999, where he was put aside the succession), who was the brother of King Hussein, has strongly criticised the current situation in Gaza as well as the policies of the main powers in the zone. With an occasional informal tone far from the strict protocol, Prince Hassan has criticised the current status quo in the zone. He has criticised the United Nations and its role in keeping the peace. He has brought up that, since the end of World War II, 90 million people have died in armed conflicts throughout the globe. In addition, he has stressed that, in Iraq, 98% of children are badly nourished.

Prince Hassan has shocked the audience when he pronounced very strong words referring to an article written by a Malaysian journalist and criticised Jordan’s Royal Family. “If you come here to say ‘go and fuck yourself’, I will fuck you,” he literally said in Arabic. The article criticised Jordan’s policy towards its neighbours and compared Jordan’s Royal Family to Britain’s. The comparison is particularly intentioned as Palestine was a protectorate of the United Kingdom after the First World War.

He has also criticised the policy of the United States, Turkey and Iran, as well as Israel’s. However, Prince Hassan has put some hope into the World Congress for Middle East Studies and its possible outcomes. “Nobody is interested in developing cultural affinity but you and me”, he said while addressing the audience. He has also lamented that economic interests of the West are above more important concerns. He has claimed that the entire world’s population should have access to clean water and cheap energy.