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Parliament votes to expel Israeli ambassador over Jerusalem violations

By Khaled Neimat - Feb 26,2014 - Last updated at Feb 26,2014

AMMAN — The majority of the 150-member Lower House on Wednesday voted in favour of a motion to expel Israel’s ambassador to Jordan and recall the Kingdom’s ambassador to Israel.

The parliamentary motion was proposed by the House’s Palestine Committee after recent Israeli violations against Al Aqsa Mosque.

The decision also came just one day after the Israeli Knesset resumed discussion of a draft law to strip Jordan from its status as custodian of the holy shrines in Jerusalem, as stipulated in the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.

“The Israelis are in shock following our decision today,” Deputy Khalil Atiyeh (Amman, 1st District) told The Jordan Times after House meeting on Wednesday. 

He said he was aware of the Israeli reaction following phone calls with an Arab member of the Knesset. 

This is the first time the Parliament has decided to expel an Israeli ambassador, according to MP Yihya Saud (Amman, 2nd District), who heads the Palestine Committee.

Ahead of the vote, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh explained that Tuesday’s deliberations by the Knesset of a proposal to revoke Jordan’s custodianship over holy sites in Jerusalem ended without a vote, noting there was sharp opposition to the move within the Israeli parliament.

The proposal would only lead to harming relations with Arab and Muslim countries, Tarawneh quoted Israeli opposition figures as saying during the Knesset meeting.

Also on Tuesday, the MPs started their debate over the issue, reiterating the need to take “strong and solid” stand against the Israeli actions.

They called on the government to reconsider its diplomatic measures in this regard, and criticised its “idle” position on the issue.

Certain MPs warned the government against lack of action.

They said the government will have to react by Sunday, and before the House holds its next session. Otherwise, Saud said Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour risks a series of measures by MPs, including boycotting House meetings and ending with a no-confidence vote.

Israeli officials and lawmakers are now in a state of shock, after the Lower House’s decision, and, most likely, they are going to avoid voting on the motion, submitted by the extremist Knesset member Moshe Feiglin, Atiyeh quoted Knesset member Ahmad Tibi as saying.

Feiglin is head of the “Jewish Leadership” faction of Israel’s governing Likud Party. He opposes the two-state solution and campaigns for the annexation the West Bank and Gaza, including Jerusalem’s holy shrines.

He calls for full Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, revoking all peace accords that Israel signed with its neighbouring Arab countries, including the Wadi Araba Peace Treaty with Jordan.

The Knesset is supposed to resume its debate over Feiglin’s proposal Thursday, amid expectations in Amman that no voting on this motion would take place, following the strong position by the Jordanian lawmakers and government.

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