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Jordanian government survives no-confidence vote; PM against expelling Israeli ambassador
By Ariel Ben Solomon
03/18/2014
Jordanian premier says any action premature as joint-investigation is still underway.
 
The Jordanian government survived a no-confidence vote on Tuesday, spurred by demands for retaliatory diplomatic measures against Israel for the killing of judge Raed Za’eiter at the Allenby Bridge last week.

Following a heated session in the Jordanian lower house of parliament, 81 deputies out of 150 members voted in favor of Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour’s government, and only 29 voted against it, Jordanian newspaper Al-Rai reported. Another 20 abstained, and 20 were absent.

Ensour told the members of parliament the government did not want to expel the Israeli ambassador or withdraw the Jordanian ambassador in Israel, as the joint Israeli-Jordanian investigation of the incident had not yet released its results.

He said that such a step could put the joint investigation at risk, allowing Israel to investigate without Jordanian participation. He added that an expulsion “does not serve the martyr Raed Za’eiter.”

Pursuing such a course, he said, could give the Israeli government the opportunity to free itself from its constraints and act unilaterally in east Jerusalem and at Muslim and Christian holy sites.

It would jeopardize efforts to handle the issues of Jordanian prisoners in Israeli jails and the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, he added.

On Monday, King Abdullah received calls from President Shimon Peres and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, in which they expressed “deep regret” over the killing.

Also on Monday, government spokesman Muhammad Momani condemned Israeli actions at the Temple Mount, after Construction and Housing Minister Uri Ariel visited the holy site.

“These Israeli practices and violations, allowing extremist settlers to violate the sanctity of Al-Aksa Mosque under the protection of the Israeli police and army, will ignite violence and religious extremism in the region,” the state-run Jordanian Petra News agency quoted him as saying.

An initial inquiry by Israeli security services found that Za’eiter, a Nablus-born jurist and magistrate’s court judge in Jordan, had shouted, “Allahu akbar!” while charging IDF troops at the terminal.

Security services are set to continue the investigation.

Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.
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