Jordan MPs vote to expel Israeli ambassador
Published Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Updated at 5:10 pm: A majority of Jordanian MPs voted on Wednesday to seek the expulsion of Israel's ambassador to the kingdom after the Jewish state's parliament debated Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque compound.
Prominent lower house deputy Khalil Attieh told AFP that 86 out of 150 members of parliament voted to seek the expulsion of Israeli envoy Daniel Nevo.
The vote, which is not legally binding, came a day after 47 MPs, including Attieh, signed a motion demanding that a 1994 peace treaty with Israel be annulled.
"All deputies who attended a meeting today to discuss Israel's debate on sovereignty over Al-Aqsa voted to kick out the Israeli envoy and recall the Jordanian ambassador in Israel (Walid Obeidat)," Attieh said.
"This was in protest at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) debate. It is up to the government to act on the vote. If it does not, we will consider a no-confidence motion."
State-run Petra news agency said the MPs "demanded the government take immediate action to stop Israel's schemes."
Government-owned al-Rai newspaper said 47 out of 150 members of the lower house signed a motion late Tuesday calling for the treaty with Israel to be annulled.
"The motion came in response to Israel's actions in Jerusalem and to the Knesset debate of a law that seeks to impose Israel's sovereignty over Al-Aqsa," al-Rai quoted MPs as saying in the motion.
Under the peace treaty, Jordan is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.
"Israel's actions clearly violate the peace treaty... it is aggression against Jordanian custodianship," the motion said.
Al-Rai said the lower house will discuss "the repercussions of the debate later Wednesday".
On Tuesday evening, the Knesset held the first part of a debate called by right-wingers demanding that Israel end its practice of forbidding Jewish prayer at the compound.
In a motion which was not put to a vote, MP Moshe Feiglin, a hard-line member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party, said Israel's fear of igniting Muslim rage amounted to discrimination against Jews.
The Jordanian government has so far not commented.
But Jordan's opposition Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged the government on Tuesday to freeze the peace deal.
"The custodianship is a Jordanian national interest and a sacred religious duty," said the IAF, the main opposition party.
Israeli police on Tuesday entered the compound to disperse stone-throwing Palestinian protesters, with an Israeli police spokesman speaking of "high tension".
The Al-Aqsa compound, which lies in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem's Old City, is a flashpoint because of its significance to both Muslims and Jews.
Sitting above the Western Wall plaza, it houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques and is Islam's third-holiest site.
It is claimed to be Judaism's holiest place, being the site of the first and second Jewish temples.