JAFFA, Israel – Jordan’s parliament has banned selling or renting property in the Petra area to Israelis following a heated plenary debate.
Lawmakers defied calls to strike down the bill as unlawful because Israel doesn’t have a similar law and approved a regulation that allows the rental of property and land to people of all nationalities except Israel.
“Their claim of bilateralism is void because Israel isn’t a legal entity,” the bill’s sponsors told the Jordanian media. “It is a land-grabbing entity.”
They noted that Israelis might try to bypass the regulation by using non-Israeli straw men or registering their companies in Jordan, the country’s semi-official Al Dustour newspaper wrote, adding that the representatives of the Jordanian people reject normalization with Israel and insist that Palestinian land remain Palestinian.
Some MPs said the bill was necessary because “The Jews claim ownership of Petra and are likely to encroach on the area to fulfill their schemes. We are for encouraging investment, but not at the expense of the holiness of the land. If we let Jews purchase land, we will de facto recognize Israel’s existence.”
Israel has never made any territorial claims on Petra.
In January, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that Jordanian MPs are drafting a bill that would ban Israelis from purchasing land in Jordan.
“Jordan does not allow Israeli ownership of lands and property anywhere in the country,” declared Mouein al-Sayeg, director of the government’s Lands Administration.
“The Jordanian people fear an Israeli takeover of state lands,” al Sayej said. “These concerns are unwarranted and have been addressed by the law.”
“The lands administration monitors the nationality of potential buyers very closely,” he added.
“Foreign buyers are required to reveal their identity, so that we can prevent undesired nationalities from gaining a foothold in our property market.”
Jordan and Israel normalized relations more than two decades ago, but public opinion in the kingdom – more than a half of whose population is of Palestinian extraction – is hostile to the Jewish state.