Jordan embassy protest 311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Several hundred Jordanian protesters on Thursday called on their government to close the Israeli embassy in Amman and scrap an unpopular peace treaty with the Jewish state.
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Dozens of demonstrators chanting: "No Zionist embassy on Arab land" gathered near a mosque in the Rabia district of the Jordanian capital close to the Israeli embassy.
Scores of police blocked roads to the embassy complex to prevent protesters from marching to the heavily protected mission.
The protesters, a mix of leftist, liberal and Islamist opposition activists, chanted slogans urging the authorities to sever diplomatic ties with neighboring Israel.
"The people want to bring down the Wadi Araba peace treaty," said a
protester, referring to the country's peace accord with Israel signed in
1994, the second that was concluded by an Arab country with Israel
after Egypt's own deal in 1979.
Earlier on Thursday, a Foreign Ministry official said Israel's diplomats
will return to Amman at the end of the weekend as usual, after Israel's
personnel there came home a day earlier
than scheduled because of concern over a demonstration against the embassy that was planned on Facebook
diplomatic personnel at the embassy, with the exception of the number 2
official there, left Amman Wednesday. Generally, because of overall
security concerns and the short distance between the countries, the
embassy staff – whose families are not with them during the week –
return to Israel each Thursday for the weekend.
The decision Wednesday to order an early departure of embassy personnel was taken just days after the 13-hour rampage
at the Israeli embassy in Cairo on Friday, during which Israeli six
security guards locked themselves behind a steel door while mobs
ransacked the embassy.
Egyptian commandos rescued those six
security guards from the Cairo embassy, as protesters broke into
archives and threw documents from the building's windows into the street
below where demonstrators were celebrating.
The call for the
protest in Amman comes amid increasing voices in Jordan calling for an
end to the normalization of ties between the two countries. Israeli
officials have said recently that the Jordanian government has not done
enough to quell those voices, and that this has led to a significant
decrease in contact and trade between the two countries.