(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Despite taunting on social media, the planned fight between scandal- plagued Likud MK Oren Hazan and trouble-making Jordanian lawmaker Yahya Mohammad Alsaud at the Allenby Bridge border crossing did not take place on Wednesday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intervened.
The drama began when Hazan commented on the heightened tensions between Israel and Jordan after a guard at the Israeli Embassy shot two Jordanians, one of whom tried to stab him with a screwdriver, last month. Israel is investigating the incident.
“It looks like our friends to the east in Jordan, those who we give water to and whose behinds we protect day and night, need some reeducation,” Hazan tweeted last week. “It’s starting to feel like goodbye and good riddance.”
On Tuesday, Alsaud called for Hazan to meet him on the Allenby Bridge between Israel and Jordan on Wednesday morning so that Alsaud could “beat him up,” and Hazan said he would be there to talk, and give Alsaud “an offer he can’t refuse.”
Israelis are not permitted to cross the Allenby Bridge, except pilgrims to Mecca.
On Wednesday morning, suspense was high, and Hazan tweeted photos of himself getting a haircut and breathing into his inhaler – he has asthma – in preparation for the rumble. Hazan also said Israeli Olympic bronze medal-winning judoka Oren Smadja called to give him tips for the fight.
"Preparing for my summit with the Jordanian representative. I come in Peace"
However, the Allenby Bridge’s administration didn’t actually get a notice that Alsaud would be there, Walla! News reported.
Soon after, Netanyahu’s chief of staff Yoav Horowitz instructed Hazan not to go to the bridge. Hazan did an about-face when he was only 3 kilometers from the border crossing.
“I always say yes to peace and no to violence and conflict,” Hazan said later. “I was on the way to the Allenby Bridge to meet with my Jordanian colleague, a meeting that, in my eyes, was a bridge to reconciliation.”
However, Hazan said that he respected the prime minister’s request and turned around, even though he was disappointed.
“I wanted to talk to [Alsaud] and explain to him that, at the end of the day, Jordan is Palestine and Palestine is Jordan, and it would be best for him to take his brothers and sisters, the Arabs of the West Bank who define themselves as Palestinians, back to their home in Jordan,” he said.
Hazan said he plans to ask the Foreign Ministry to set up a meeting between him and Alsaud, because, as a resident of Ariel, in the West Bank, he understands his “Arab neighbors’ mentality,” and that due to his “unique style,” he could bring “peace between the nations.”
Jordan and Israel already signed a peace treaty in 1994.
Alsaud, on the other hand, did show up at the bridge. According to Jordanian media sources, he was ready to fight, calling Hazan a “pig” and a “man without an identity.” He also said, when he heard that Hazan wanted to shake hands, that he would not shake Hazan’s hand, because he was there to fight.
The Jordanian Parliamentarian took to Facebook Live from his car:
Alsaud and Hazan have both become notorious in their respective countries because of their stunts.
Hazan is known for his atypical behavior for a parliamentarian, such as sneaking in to US President Donald Trump’s reception at Ben-Gurion Airport to take a selfie with him. He is often found name-calling in screaming matches with his fellow MKs. Soon after his election in 2015, a Channel 2 report revealed that Hazan procured prostitutes and drugs for patrons of a casino he managed in Bulgaria before he began his political career.
Alsaud was involved in an altercation in which an AK-47 assault rifle was shot in the Jordanian parliament in 2013, following a disagreement with another legislator. He also was part of the impetus for a social media campaign in 2014, when he shouted at female MP Hind al-Fayez to sit down and expressed dissatisfaction with a legal quota for women lawmakers in Jordan, and the hashtags for “Sit down Hind” and “Don’t sit down Hind” went viral.