Jordan MPs Vote to Expel Israel Ambassador over Aqsa Debate

A majority of Jordanian MPs voted on Wednesday to seek the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to the kingdom after the Knesset debated Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound.

Prominent lower house deputy Khalil Attieh told AFP that 86 out of 150 members of parliament voted to seek the expulsion of Israeli envoy Daniel Nevo.

The vote, which is not legally binding, came a day after 47 MPs, including Attieh, signed a motion demanding that a 1994 peace treaty with Israel be annulled.

“All deputies who attended a meeting today to discuss Israel’s debate on sovereignty over Al-Aqsa voted to kick out the Israeli envoy and recall the Jordanian ambassador in Israel (Walid Obeidat),” Attieh said.

“This was in protest at the Knesset (Israeli parliament) debate. It is up to the government to act on the vote. If it does not, we will consider a no-confidence motion.”

State-run Petra news agency said the MPs “demanded the government take immediate action to stop Israel’s schemes.”

Under the peace treaty, Jordan is the custodian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem.

“Israel’s actions clearly violate the peace treaty… it is aggression against Jordanian custodianship,” Tuesday’s motion said.

The Knesset Tuesday evening began a debate called by right-wingers to demand that Israel end its practice of forbidding Jewish prayer at the Al-Aqsa compound.

In a motion which was not put to a vote, MP Moshe Feiglin, a hardline member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, said Israel’s fear of igniting Muslim rage amounted to discrimination against Jews.

The Jordanian government has so far not commented.

But Jordan’s opposition Islamic Action Front (IAF), the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, urged the government on Tuesday to freeze the peace deal.

“The custodianship is a Jordanian national interest and a sacred religious duty,” said the IAF, the main opposition party.

Israeli police on Tuesday clashed with stone-throwing Palestinian protesters at the compound ahead of the Knesset debate.

The Al-Aqsa compound, which lies in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem’s Old City, is a flashpoint because of its significance to both Muslims and Jews.

Sitting above the Western Wall plaza, it houses the Dome of the Rock and Al-Aqsa mosques and is Islam’s third-holiest site.

It is also Judaism’s holiest place, being the site of the first and second Jewish temples.

(Ma’an – www.maannewes.com)

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