Jordan: Not in our interest to cut ties with Israel
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Jordan: Not in our interest to cut ties with Israel

As thousands protest outside the Israeli Embassy, PM Ensour points to issues of mutual concern like water, refugees and Jerusalem

Jordanian riot police confront protesters during a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in Amman on Friday (photo credit: AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)
Jordanian riot police confront protesters during a demonstration in front of the Israeli Embassy in Amman on Friday (photo credit: AFP/Khalil Mazraawi)

AMMAN, Jordan — Some 2,000 protesters demonstrated in front of the Israeli Embassy in Jordan on Friday over the killing of a Jordanian judge earlier in the week.

The death of Raed Zeiter, a Jordanian magistrate of Palestinian descent, has caused an uproar in Jordan, triggering street protests and calls in parliament to annul the 1994 peace agreement with Israel.

The IDF said that guards shot Zeiter on Monday after he tried to grab a rifle from a soldier at the Allenby border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour addressed the parliament’s concerns on Friday, saying that it was not in the national interest to cut ties with Israel. He also said such a step could hurt Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations and US aid to Jordan.

Ensour said that water issues, borders, Palestinian refugees and sovereignty over Jerusalem were all issues of mutual concerns for both countries.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, November 28, 2011 (photo credit: AP)
Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour (photo credit: AP)

Protesters on Friday chanted anti-Israel slogans and called upon the Jordanian government to deport the Israeli ambassador, to return the Jordanian ambassador from Tel Aviv and to annul the peace treaty. Thousands of riot police stood on hand and stopped protesters from attacking the embassy.

Opposition Islamists, youth groups, leftists and nationalists took part in the demonstration that started after Friday prayers in Kaluti mosque. Jordan’s Muslim Brotherhood organized the protest.

Demonstrators waved Jordanian flags and banners reading “the people want to cancel the peace treaty,” and “shut down the Zionist entity’s embassy and kick the ambassador out for the sake of the martyr’s blood.”

“Zeiter you are a martyr and our rulers are slaves. We will not forget you,” they chanted.

The father of Raed Zeiter grieves over his son's body during his funeral in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, on March 11, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)
The father of Raed Zeiter grieves over his son’s body during his funeral in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, on March 11, 2014 (photo credit: AFP/Jaafar Ashtiyeh)

Several protesters were arrested for trying to break through the barrier formed by police, reported the country’s Ammon News.

On Wednesday, the lower house of Jordan’s parliament demanded in a non-binding resolution the government free Jordanian soldier Ahmad Dakamseh, who was jailed after he opened fire on a group of Israeli schoolgirls in 1997, killing seven.

AFP contributed to this report.

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