Jordanian parliament calls to expel Israeli envoy

MPs decry 'attacks' on al-Aksa mosque by Israeli forces.

May 8, 2013 22:29
2 minute read.
Israeli police in front of Al Aqsa mosque [file].

Israeli police in front of Al Aqsa mosque 370. (photo credit: REUTERS/Ammar Awad)


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The Jordanian parliament’s lower house voted on Wednesday to call on the government to expel Israeli Ambassador Daniel Nevo, and to recall Jordanian Ambassador to Israel Walid Obeidat.

The non-binding vote came after Israel limited the entrance of Muslim worshipers to the Temple Mount on Tuesday and allowed Jews to visit the compound during the celebration of Jerusalem Day, which continued into Wednesday. The day marks the reunification of the city in 1967 under Israeli sovereignty.

In addition, Jordan acted to protest the detention of the Mufti of Jerusalem Sheikh Muhammad Hussein on Wednesday, according to a report by the Jordanian Petra News Agency.

“Amid extreme shock and anger, the lower house [the House of Representatives] received news about the extremist settlers’ storming of Al-Aksa Mosque, the arrest of the mufti of Jerusalem, and Palestinian worshipers being prevented from entering and praying at the mosque,” the Jordanian legislature said in a statement.

“The lower house strongly condemns such racist action and affirms that these daily and continuing activities by the Israeli authorities and settlers are systemized and pre-planned schemes that reflect the ugly and evil face of extremist Zionists,” the statement added.

Hussein was arrested Wednesday morning for his alleged involvement in a violent confrontation at the Temple Mount on Tuesday, during which several Palestinians threw chairs at police officers, said Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Some 15 Muslim worshipers threw chairs at security forces, causing mild head injuries to two police officers after they had arrested an Arab youth for allegedly disturbing the peace and yelling at Jewish visitors to the holy site.

Rosenfeld said that no arrests had yet been made in the assault.

While he did not clarify Hussein’s role in the melee, Rosenfeld said he was arrested in his home after six hours of questioning for inciting violence at the holy site on multiple occasions.

Additionally, Rosenfeld said 18 Palestinians were arrested near Damascus Gate Wednesday for attempting to incite violence before the Jerusalem Day march.

“More than 50,000 people are marching today from the center of town to the Old City, and thousands of police officers are overseeing all activities to ensure public safety,” he said.

Jordan’s legislature urged international organizations, including the UN and the Arab League, to intervene.

Petra News quoted Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour as saying that his government was very concerned about Israeli violations against the Aksa Mosque.

He informed the House of Representatives, that the cabinet had discussed the “attack” on Al-Aksa and the arrest of the mufti and that the Jordanian Embassy in Tel Aviv would take actions in response. Ensour added that the government is ready to appeal to the UN Security council over the issue.

President Shimon Peres sent a calming message to Jordan and promised that Israel would honor its agreements with Jordan, and will make sure that all worshipers from all religions could pray in their respective holy sites.

Police in Jerusalem arrested more than a dozen people.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the mufti was released after six hours of questioning without being charged.

“The mufti was investigated for six hours over what happened at the Temple Mount yesterday and over his recent declarations about the situation there,” Rosenfeld said.

Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.

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