Jordan’s parliament calls for expulsion of Israeli envoy, recall of ambassador

Unanimous vote cites Israeli ‘crimes’ against Palestinians; King Abdullah says Jewish state’s ‘provocations’ led to escalation

Demonstrators lift flags during a pro-Palestine protest in the Jordanian capital Amman on May 16, 2021. (Khalil MAZRAAWI / AFP)
Demonstrators lift flags during a pro-Palestine protest in the Jordanian capital Amman on May 16, 2021. (Khalil MAZRAAWI / AFP)

Jordanian lawmakers on Monday unanimously carried a motion urging the government to expel Israel’s ambassador to Amman in protest against Israeli “crimes” against Palestinians.

Parliament Speaker Abdul Monem Odat announced the move live on television after a parliamentary session devoted to “the situation in Palestine and the crimes committed against them in Jerusalem and Gaza.”

During a six-hour-long session, “the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador” was among the key recommendations carried, Odat said. Amir Weissbroad, the Israeli envoy, took up his post in 2018.

Lawmakers also demanded the recall of Jordan’s ambassador from Tel Aviv.

“We have sent a memorandum to the government to that effect and it is now with the prime minister,” he added.

Prime Minister Bishr Khasawneh, who was present in parliament, said the government will examine all the options “and will rise to the challenge.”

Independent MP Khalil Attiyeh told AFP that all parliament’s 130 deputies had signed the memorandum.

Israel and the Palestinians are mired in their worst clashes in years.

Smoke rises after Israeli air strikes on Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on May 17, 2021. (Photo by SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Over 3,000 rockets have been fired at Israel since the outbreak of fighting last Monday, according to the Israel Defense Forces. Israel, in turn, has struck hundreds of targets in Gaza, including some of Gaza City’s tallest office and residential buildings, alleging they contain Hamas military infrastructure.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, over 200 Palestinians have died since the beginning of the fighting, 59 of them children. Israel has said it does not target civilians, and that many of the dead were terrorists or were killed by errant Hamas rockets.

Ten people in Israel, including a 5-year-old boy and a 16-year-old girl, have been killed in the rocket fire, and hundreds have been injured.

Palestinian terror groups have tied the rocket fire to unrest in Jerusalem connected to both prayer on the Temple Mount during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and the pending eviction of a number of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Jordan’s King Abdullah II gives a speech during the inauguration of the 19th Parliament’s non-ordinary session, in Amman, Jordan, December 10, 2020. (Yousef Allan/The Royal Hashemite Court via AP)

Jordan’s King Abdullah II echoed the same rhetoric by saying “Israel’s provocative actions against the Palestinians led to the current escalation and added more tension to the region.”

Jordan, which is bound by a peace treaty with neighboring Israel agreed in 1994, has for days seen protests in solidarity with the Palestinians.

Demonstrators have also demanded the Israeli ambassador’s expulsion.

Around half of Jordan’s 10 million-strong population is of Palestinian origin, including some 2.2 million refugees registered with the United Nations.

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