Jordan recalls ambassador from Israel to protest carnage in war with Hamas

Amman accuses Israel of ‘killing innocents,’ causing ‘humanitarian catastrophe’ in Gaza; as Colombia and Chile recall envoys, J’lem notes their citizens were among Oct. 7 victims

Lazar Berman is The Times of Israel's diplomatic reporter

Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks at the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters on October 26, 2023, in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)
Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi speaks at the UN General Assembly at United Nations headquarters on October 26, 2023, in New York City. (Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images/AFP)

Jordan recalled its ambassador to Israel on Wednesday in protest of the “humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip and the mounting civilian death toll in Israel’s war against Hamas.

Foreign Minister Ayman Al-Safadi told envoy Rasan al-Majali to return to Amman “as an expression of Jordan’s position of rejection and condemnation of the raging Israeli war on Gaza, which is killing innocent people and causing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe,” according to a statement released by Jordan’s Foreign Ministry.

Jordan also asked Israel’s Foreign Ministry to tell Ambassador Rogel Rachman, who was temporarily called back to Israel because of security threats in Jordan, not to return to Amman.

According to the statement, “the return of the ambassadors will be linked to Israel stopping its war on Gaza and stopping the humanitarian catastrophe it is causing and all its measures that deprive the Palestinians of their right to food, water, medicine, and their right to live safely and stable on their national soil.”

Israel responded carefully hours later, saying only that it “regrets” the decision in a tweet from Foreign Ministry spokesman Lior Haiat.

Jordan follows Colombia and Chile, which also recalled their envoys for consultation the night before. Bolivia suspended all diplomatic ties with Israel, which were virtually nonexistent, on Tuesday night.

Demonstrators raise a sign condemning French President Emmanuel Macron, US President Joe Biden, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, during a rally in the Jordanian capital Amman held in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, on October 27, 2023, amid the ongoing war between Hamas and Israel. (Khalil Mazraawi/AFP)

The Foreign Ministry slammed Colombia and Chile on Wednesday, with ministry spokesman Lior Haiat saying: “Citizens of Colombia, Chile and other Latin American countries are also among the victims of the heinous [October 7] attack. The State of Israel is fighting a war that was imposed on it; a war against a terrorist organization that uses the citizens of the Gaza Strip as human shields.”

Haiat said that Israel “calls on Colombia and Chile to explicitly condemn the Hamas terrorist organization, which slaughtered and abducted babies, children, women and the elderly. Israel expects Colombia and Chile to support the right of a democratic country to protect its citizens, and to call for the immediate release of all the abductees.”

Israel withdrew its diplomats from Turkey over the weekend to “reassess relations” as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued to lash the Jewish state for its actions in the Gaza Strip.

Jordan was the second Arab state to make peace with Israel in 1994, after Egypt in 1979. Thousands of protesters have called for Amman to rescind its peace treaty with Israel because of the war against Hamas.

Jordan, whose population is believed to be at least 50 percent Palestinian, has shown nervousness over the war in Gaza.

“The whole region is on the brink of falling into the abyss,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II said after meeting German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin in the second week of the conflict. “All our efforts are needed to make sure we don’t get there.”

US President Joe Biden (R) greets Jordan’s King Abdullah (L) and Prince Hussein at the Oval Office on February 2, 2023. (White House)

On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden spoke by phone with Abdullah. According to the White House, the two leaders discussed humanitarian aid to Gaza, and keeping the conflict from spreading.

Two weeks into the war, Israel issued a warning against travel to Jordan and other Arab countries.

Earlier this month, Jordan asked the United States to deploy its Patriot missile defense system to step up the kingdom’s border defenses as the war causes jitters throughout the region.

Meanwhile, Jordan’s Queen Rania claimed in an interview that there is no verifiable evidence that Hamas terrorists beheaded children during their October 7 massacre in southern Israel, despite various materials available on the atrocities.

In this handout photo released on November 1, 2023, Israeli forces are seen in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing war against Hamas. (Israel Defense Forces)

She also accused Western leaders of a “glaring double standard” for not condemning Israel’s killing of Palestinian civilians in its ongoing bombardment of Gaza.

War erupted on October 7 when Hamas terrorists broke through the border with Gaza and rampaged through southern communities, slaughtering more than 1,400 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping over 240 others, under the cover of a deluge of rockets fired at Israeli towns and cities.

The vast majority of those killed as gunmen seized border communities were civilians — including babies, children, and the elderly. Entire families were executed in their homes, and over 260 people were slaughtered at an outdoor festival, many amid horrific acts of brutality, torture and sexual violence by the terrorists.

Israel has responded with a massive offensive in the coastal enclave that it says is aimed at destroying Hamas’s infrastructure and has vowed to eliminate the entire terror group, which rules the Strip. It says it is targeting all areas where Hamas operates while trying to minimize civilian casualties.

The Hamas-run Gaza health ministry has stated that Israeli strikes have killed more than 8,700 people. However, the figures cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza, including as a consequence of terror groups’ own rocket misfires.

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