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Majority of MPs vote against raising placards under the Dome

By Raed Omari - Nov 30,2014 - Last updated at Nov 30,2014

AMMAN — Tension erupted under the Dome of Parliament on Sunday when MP Hind Fayez raised a placard rejecting natural gas imports from Israel during the Lower House session.

Fayez placed the placard, which she borrowed from protesters gathered outside Parliament, next to her seat. 

Several activists gathered in front of Parliament on Sunday protesting against the government's plan to import natural gas from Israel.

Objecting to the banner, which read: "Gas from the enemy is occupation," MP Abdul Hadi Maharmeh said the gas will be imported from Palestine, not Israel. 

"It is not allowed to raise signs under the Dome," he added.

In a bid to reduce the tension, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh said the gas import issue was not on the agenda of Sunday's session, and the matter will be discussed in other meetings.

With Fayez insisting on not removing the placard, Tarawneh requested a vote on the legality of her move. 

An overwhelming majority of MPs voted against raising signs under the Dome.

A revote was conducted with the same results after Fayez rejected the outcome of the first vote.  

Upon a recommendation by 78 deputies, the Lower House also approved holding a general session to discuss the proposed agreement between the state-owned National Electric Power Company and the US-based Noble Energy to buy natural gas from Israel.

In September, the government said NEPCO is expected to buy 250-300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Noble Energy.

In August, the Cabinet approved a recommendation by its Economic Development Committee to allow Jordan to benefit from the natural gas field discovered in Palestinian regional waters near Gaza and coordinate with the Palestinian Authority in this regard.

The issue of natural gas imports from Israel has been a topic of debate in Jordan with opposition parties, mainly the Islamists, calling on the government to refrain from importing natural gas from Israel.

Also on Sunday, 11 deputies signed a memorandum requesting that a law be drafted to abolish the Jordanian-Israeli peace deal in response to the Israeli Cabinet's endorsement of a controversial law defining Israel as Jewish homeland. 

Signatories of the memorandum, initiated by MP Khalil Atiyyeh, cited Article 95 of the Constitution which reads: "Any ten or more Senators or Deputies may propose any law. Such [a] proposal shall be referred to the committee concerned in the House for its views. If the House is of the opinion that the proposal be accepted it shall refer it to the Government for drafting it in the form of draft law, and to submit it to the House either during the same session or at the following session."

During Sunday's session, deputies also decided to resume deliberations over the draft income tax law, which was on the agenda of the previous extraordinary session.

In addition, MPs endorsed amendments to the 2014 Military Housing Fund Law and referred an amended version of the draft Jordan Pharmacists Association law to the Health Committee for review.

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