Protesting Jordanian legislators joined swelling anti-Israel protests yesterday calling for the cancellation of their country’s peace treaty with Israel in the wake of the death of a Jordanian at an Israeli border crossing, according to reports in the Jerusalem Post.
The demonstrations, continuing for a second day, protested the killing on Monday of a Jordanian magistrate judge who was fatally shot by Israeli soldiers after reportedly attacking them with a metal pole, shouting “Allahu akbar” (Allah is great) and trying to wrestle away a gun from one of the soldiers. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office has expressed regret over the death in an effort to lower tensions between Jordan and Israel.
Jordan is one of only two Arab countries to have signed a peace treaty with Israel. The peace between Israel and Jordan is an Israeli strategic interest and one of the foundations of Israel’s national security strategy. Though the two countries’ governments operate closely at the highest levels regarding intelligence and security, there is strong anti-Israel sentiment among the Jordanian citizenry.
The Prime Minister’s apology notwithstanding, Jordan summoned an Israeli diplomat to protest the killing, and jurists in Amman staged a demonstration on Tuesday in the Palace of Justice including harsh anti-Israel statements.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Jordanian senate called for taking measures to put an end to Israeli disrespect, punish the attackers and send a message to the Israeli “occupiers.”
Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad on Tuesday cited MP Yahya al-Saud, who in the past has made strong anti-Jewish statements, as calling in a Jordanian TV interview to open up “the gate of jihad” against Israel.
Protesters demanded the cancellation of the peace treaty outside the Israeli Embassy on Monday. MPs also expressed outrage on Monday, with the Palestine Committee in the Lower House issuing a statement that called for the end of the peace treaty, the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador in Amman and the removal of Jordan’s envoy in Israel.
MP Mejhem Sqour demanded that the prosecutor-general quickly open a case against the Israel Defense Forces.
MP Khalil Atiyeh told The Jordan Times that the event was very serious and that lawmakers would put the “maximum pressure on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman.”
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement of regret on Tuesday in an effort to lessen tensions.
“Israel regrets the death of judge Raed Za’eiter yesterday at the King Hussein [Allenby] Bridge and expresses its sympathies to the people and government of Jordan,” the statement said. “In light of our commitment to the peace treaty, Israel has already shared with Jordan the results of its preliminary investigation of the incident. Israel has also agreed to a Jordanian request to establish a joint Israeli-Jordanian team to complete the investigation.”