Jordanian MP: I Would Set Myself On Fire Before I'd Import Israeli Gas

In a televised debate about energy options for Jordan, advertising executive-turned Member of Parliament Hind Al-Fayez said that in order to stay warm, "I will use firewood or even set myself on fire, but I will never import Israeli gas."

Ms Al-Fayez warned that Israel was Satan and her country's plan to purchase natural gas from Israel was part of an Israeli plot to starve the Jordanian people.

 The debate aired on the Jordanian/U.K. ANB channel on December 14, and was translated by MEMRI:

Al-Fayez: We must not have dealings with Satan. We should not use the Jordanian deficit as a pretext to justify dealing with Satan. The Jordanian Kingdom has been having dealings with Satan since 1994 but where has it gotten us? What did it do to our deficit?

Lets go back to the issue of other energy sources. There are many alternatives [to Israeli gas], as you yourself said. While Jordan rushes to sign a deal for the Israeli gas it is very slow in developing other, local, solutions.

I believe in conspiracy theory. There is a conspiracy at play here. They want to starve, enfeeble and exhaust our people so they can justify the shattering of its honor. No! We will never allow this to happen.

King Faisal said, “Even if we have to be naked and barefoot.” I will use firewood or even set myself on fire, but I will never import Israeli gas. Let us stop seeking pretexts.

Another panelist tried unsuccessfully tried to present his opinion, "I would just like to say..," but was immediately cut off by Al-Fayez.

Al-Fayez:  Just one last thing. The boycott spells Israel’s death. You say that if we do not sign the deal with Israel, it will sign with another country but Israel is hoping to blend in the Arab world. However it will remain an unwanted, parasitical plague. We do not share a common language or religion with it. It will remain a plundering occupier. The boycott spells its death.

A recent incident in Parliament made Al-Fayez a bit of an Internet sensation. She was in the middle of a debate in Parliament about the gas imports and when her time was up, refused to yield to another member, Yahya Al-Saud. As reported by CNN:

"Sit down, Hind!" Al-Saud loudly repeated numerous times, before banging on the desk and yelling, "God curse the person who brought the (female) quota to Parliament!" By law, 15 seats in Jordan's 150-member House of Representatives are reserved for women, with female members determined by election results.

The gender dispute, caught on video, has raised awareness of women's rights issues in Jordan and across the Middle East.

"Sit Down Hind" has become a popular Twitter hashtag, as well as a popular meme on social media. The competing hashtag "Do Not Sit Down Hind" has also gained popularity. While some simply poke fun, the incident is also drawing attention to gender inequality.

One meme shows Al-Fayez sitting in a chair, and the caption reads: "a rare photo of Hind Al-Fayez sitting."