Imad al-Adwan: The Jordanian MP critical of Israel and now under arrest

Mohammad Ersan

Middle East Eye  /  April 24, 2023

The representative from Balqa is known for his staunch defence of Palestinian resistance and protests in Jordan’s parliament.

video of Imad al-Adwan began circulating on Jordanian social media on Sunday evening.

The Jordanian MP that morning had been arrested by Israel on suspicion of smuggling weapons and gold across the King Hussein Bridge, also known as the Allenby Bridge, which connects the occupied West Bank and Jordan.

In the footage from May last year, Adwan is seen making a speech in Jordan’s parliament saluting the official spokesman of the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing.

Another video circulating widely purports to show weapons allegedly found in Adwan’s vehicle as he crossed over the bridge. According to Ammon News, three bags were confiscated containing 100kg of gold, 12 machine guns and 270 medium- and small-sized weapons.

His colleague, MP Khalil Attiyeh, described Adwan to Middle East Eye as an “Arab nationalist” and asked for “patience and to refrain from trusting the Israeli occupier’s narrative”.

Adwan is known for his strong positions defending the Palestinian cause. He has previously criticized the Jordanian government for not being forceful enough against Israeli violations at Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque and the bombing of Gaza.

In May 2021, he co-sponsored a letter alongside Atiyeh demanding the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Amman in response to the “attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque” at that time.

In the parliament session that accompanied the declaration, he asked why Jordan’s own ambassador remained in Israel while troops were attacking worshippers in the mosque. He also suggested tabling a no-confidence vote in the government.

It would not be his last Israel-related controversy.

Support for Palestine

Imad al-Adwan, who was born in 1988, is one of Jordan’s youngest MPs.

Elected in 2020 in the Balqa governorate northeast of Amman, he belongs to no political party and comes from one of Jordan’s largest tribes, the Adwan.

Attiyeh described Adwan as a “respected man”, who previously served as the Balqa governor’s deputy.

“I call on our government to move immediately diplomatically, politically and legally, and irrespective of the background and motivation and claims by Israel regarding smuggling weapons,” he told MEE.

“Our national duty is to see our MP back with his people. We cannot allow the enemy any opportunity for which he could hurt the dignity of Jordanians by arresting a member of parliament.”

Alaa al-Thieb is a Jordanian political journalist who was friends with Adwan before he became an MP.

“He was a practising lawyer and he had ambitions like any young person who wants to reform,” he told MEE, adding that Adwan loudly promotes the idea that Jordanian politics and the parliament should better reflect the will of the people.

“At one time he had an altercation with the prime minister when he sat in his seat and refused to leave it as a way of protesting the high rise in prices.”

Notably, Adwan is a member of the parliamentary Palestine committee. “He has always spoken on behalf of Palestine and Al-Aqsa,” Thieb said.

“He loves Palestine a lot. He hates injustice, like all honourable people. But I do not believe in what the occupiers [Israel] say about seizing so many weapons on him. I think he was the victim of blackmail. The size of what was captured reflects a lie. I do not believe them.”

Foreign ministry following up

Jordan’s foreign ministry told MEE that it is following Adwan’s case.

Spokesman Sinan al-Majali said: “The ministry is working on finding out what happened and addressing it as soon as possible.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen described the arrest as a “very serious incident”. “Israel’s basic requirement would be to bring him to justice and make him pay the price for the serious act he committed,” he told Ynet.

In Jordan, support for Adwan is becoming increasingly outspoken, with some believing the allegations and others dismissing them as a conspiracy.

MP Andre Hawari seemed to accept both versions, saying that Adwani is being accused of “a heroic act”.

“This blessed morning, part of the Eid holiday, our hearts as citizens and fellow MPs were warmed with what our colleague from the parliament has done to get weapons across the border to the heroic resisters in beloved Palestine,” he said in a statement on Sunday.

“We refuse the narrative of the oppressive entity [Israel] in terms of what happened, as they can say what they want to accomplish their goals, which we are aware of.”

Adwan’s relatives took to Facebook, calling on “proud and free Jordanians to stand with us in a solidary protest with a son of Jordan”, and reminding people of his support for the Palestinian people.

Similarly, the Adwan tribe said in statement: “Those who are close to Representative Imad are well aware of the patriotic and nationalist spirit that he enjoys, as well as his sincerity and defence of the Palestinian cause, and his efforts to support it and return rights to their owners.

“Regardless of the validity of the occupation narrative, our positions are clear towards the Palestinian cause, and only a few metres separate our homes from our occupied land in Palestine.”

Mohammad Ersan is editor in chief of and Radio al-Balad