Jordan PM: We will not expel Israeli ambassador

Jordan PM: We will not expel Israeli ambassador

No-confidence vote against Abdullah Ensour fails amid parliamentary outcry over IDF killing of judge Raed Zeiter

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour (photo credit: AP)
Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour (photo credit: AP)

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour told parliamentarians on Tuesday the government “does not see that expelling the Israeli envoy and recalling the Jordanian ambassador serve the path of our martyr’s case,” the state-run Petra news agency reported.

Incensed by the shooting death of judge Raed Zeiter at a border crossing last week, MPs had demanded the government expel the Israeli ambassador and release Jordanian soldier Ahmad Dakamseh, who shot dead seven Israeli schoolgirls 17 years ago.

They have also demanded the government recall the Jordanian ambassador to Israel.

“If we go ahead with such moves, Jordan will face repercussions that would go beyond our sorrows… It will also affect Jordan’s abilities concerning the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks,” Ensour said.

Ensour did not mention Dakamseh, who is serving a life sentence for the 1997 shooting.

The prime minister escaped a no-confidence vote by parliament Tuesday that was motivated by his government’s allegedly weak response to the killing of the Jordanian-Palestinian judge by Israeli soldiers.

The 150-member lower house renewed its confidence in Ensour by an 81-29 vote, with 20 abstentions and 20 MPs absent.

Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, becoming the only Arab country besides Egypt to have made peace with the Jewish state.

MPs were not immediately available for comment as they were still meeting in parliament.

Israeli troops shot dead 38-year-old Zeiter at the Allenby border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan on March 10, saying he had attacked them and tried to take one of their weapons.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights disputed the army’s account, saying one of the soldiers pushed Zeiter after he had disembarked from a bus with other passengers so that Israeli soldiers could search it.

Ensour has held Israel “completely responsible” for Zeiter’s death and demanded an apology for the “hideous” killing.

Raed Zeiter (photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)
Raed Zeiter (photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)

On Monday, the royal palace said in a statement that President Shimon Peres had apologized to King Abdullah II for the killing, and that the king had received a “similar” call from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Peres issued a statement saying he had called Abdullah to express “deep regret” for the shooting, but the statement fell short of a full apology.

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