Jordanian parliament votes to eject Israeli envoy

Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour says Amman ‘deeply concerned’ about ‘evil, systemized’ Israeli schemes against Al-Aqsa mosque

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel. He holds a Masters degree in Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and an Honors Bachelors degree from the University of Toronto in Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, Jewish Studies, and English.

Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount during the festival of Eid Al-Adha, October 26, 2012 (photo credit: Sleiman Khader/Flash90)
Muslim worshipers on the Temple Mount during the festival of Eid Al-Adha, October 26, 2012 (photo credit: Sleiman Khader/Flash90)

The Jordanian Parliament on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of petitioning the government to expel Israel’s ambassador in Amman and recall Jordan’s ambassador in Tel Aviv in protest of alleged Israeli desecration of holy sites in Jerusalem.

It was not yet clear what action, if any, the Jordanian government would take against Israeli Ambassador to Jordan Daniel Nevo in light of the vote. The Israeli embassy in Jordan was not available for comment.

Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour said the government “was deeply concerned about the Israeli violations against Al-Aqsa Mosque,” the official Jordanian Petra News Agency reported, and accused Israelis of “evil, systemized and pre-planned schemes” against the Muslim holy site.

The violations in question were restrictions on entry to the Temple Mount plaza imposed by the Israel Police ahead of Jerusalem Day. According to the Palestinian Ma’an news agency, police set up checkpoints to the Temple Mount entrances and “prevented all Palestinian women, and men under 50, from entering.” Normally, restrictions apply only to men under 40, who are seen as more likely to engage in violent behavior.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Wednesday that Muslim worshipers threw rocks and chairs at tourists visiting the contested site Tuesday. Jordanian media accused the police of permitting “dozens of extremist settlers to storm the holy shrine” as well.

Jewish tourists are permitted to enter, but not pray at, the Temple Mount, and security checkpoints are a standard installation at the entrance of the historic flashpoint.

Ammon news website reported that Ensour said the Jordanian cabinet discussed Israel’s actions in a meeting Wednesday morning and decided to instruct Jordanian Ambassador in Tel Aviv Walid Obeidat to file an official objection to the Israeli government “as a first measure.” Should things escalate, the report said, Obeidat would be instructed to petition the United Nations Security Council.

An Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesperson declined comment on the issue, saying Jerusalem was looking into the matter and communication channels with Amman were open.

Last month, a Jordanian MP was dismissed by his party after attending an Israeli Independence Day event at the President’s Residence, and earlier in April 110 MPs signed a petition calling for the release of Ahmad Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier who gunned down seven Israeli schoolgirls on a field trip to the “Isle of Peace” border area of Naharayim in 1997.

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