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AMMAN: Jordanian lawmakers called on Monday for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Amman in response to “Israel’s crimes against humanity.”
Almost all of the lawmakers who stepped on the podium in Monday’s special session on violence in Gaza and the occupied West Bank urged the government to expel the envoy following Israel’s actions in Jerusalem and the bombing campaign that followed.
Jordan is the custodian of the Islamic and Christian holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem.
Ninety deputies from the lower house of the Jordanian parliament, which has 130 members, signed a memorandum demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Amman in protest and rejection of the “brutal and barbaric” attacks of Israel against Al-Aqsa Mosque and Gaza.
The petition, a copy of which was seen by Arab News, calls on the government to take a bold stance to cut diplomatic relations with the “Zionist entity” by expelling the Israeli envoy and recalling the Jordanian ambassador to Tel Aviv .
Last week, the Jordanian government said it had summoned the Israeli charge d’affaires in Amman to oppose “Israeli attacks on worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.”
Other lawmakers called for the cancellation of all deals with Israel, including the 1994 Jordan-Israel peace treaty and the gas deal between the two countries.
In 2016, Jordan’s National Electric Power Company signed a 15-year deal with Noble Energy, a Houston-based company that owns the largest share of Israel’s Leviathan gas field, to purchase $ 10 billion worth of natural gas.
The government of the day said it would import 250 to 300 million cubic feet of natural gas per day from Noble Energy, adding that the deal would save the kingdom around $ 990 million. Under this agreement, Jordan will receive 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Other deputies, mostly Islamist in tendency, hailed Hamas’ “acts of resistance” and called for action against Israel before the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh, who attended the session, said Jordan has its own legal and diplomatic toolkit to deal with Israeli attacks on Gaza, Jerusalem and the West Bank, adding: “All options are on the table.”
Al-Khasawneh said some of these diplomatic options will be used to protect Palestinian rights and others to highlight Israel’s violations.
The prime minister accused Israel of committing crimes against humanity and said Jordan’s steadfast stance on the long-standing conflict was rooted in King Abdullah’s three ‘no’s’: No to abandonment of Jerusalem, no to the abandonment of the right of return for Palestinians, and not to the resettlement of Palestinians in Jordan.
While some MPs threaten the government with a motion of censure if it fails to expel the ambassador, Al-Khasawneh said that “the government will consider all options and take the right measures that will serve national interests once that he will receive the parliamentary petition. “
A group of MPs also called for a parliamentary delegation to visit Sheikh Jarrah to deliver a message to parliaments around the world on what they called “the injustice against the Palestinians” in the East Jerusalem neighborhood.
In a memorandum submitted for immediate action, 100 lawmakers called for a parliamentary delegation to be formed to visit Sheikh Jarrah with the aim of supporting the Palestinian presence in Jerusalem and reaffirming the Jordanian guard of sacred shrines in the Old City.
Al-Khasawneh said the government provided the Palestinian Authority with documents on Sheikh Jarrah to help the Ramallah-based government fight Israeli practices of “demographic change” in Jerusalem.
During a visit to Ramallah on April 22, Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi submitted documents to PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas proving Palestinian ownership of Sheikh Jarrah.
Jordan ruled the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, until the Arab-Israeli war of June 1967, but remains the guardian of the holy places in Jerusalem.
Safadi’s trip to the occupied West Bank came after families were reportedly ordered by the court to leave their homes in the predominantly Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah by May 5, or face eviction.
“We have provided all the documents we have that can help Palestinian residents preserve all of their rights. Jerusalem is a red line for Jordan, the king and our people, just as it is a red line for the State of Palestine. We will face any effort to undermine the existing historical and legal status of Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, ”Safadi said following his meeting with Abbas.
In response to some MPs who claimed that the government had not submitted all registration documents to the Palestinians, Safadi said, “This is not true. The government verified all relevant documents in the (national) archives and submitted all documents to the Palestinian people and government, and also attested to all documents handed over to residents of Sheikh Jarrah proving their ownership of their neighborhood.
In a meeting with lawmakers on Sunday, King Abdullah said “No country supports the Palestinians more than Jordan”, adding that intensive talks were underway with international stakeholders active to stop the Israeli escalation. and protect the lives and property of Palestinians.