September 15, 2011
Jordanians protest at Israeli embassy in Amman
Several hundred Jordanian protesters on Thursday called on their government to close the Israeli embassy in Amman and scrap an unpopular peace treaty with the Jewish state.
Dozens of demonstrators chanting: “No Zionist embassy on Arab land” gathered near a mosque in the Rabia district of the Jordanian capital close to the Israeli embassy.
Scores of police blocked roads to the embassy complex to prevent protesters from marching to the heavily protected mission.
The protesters, a mix of leftist, liberal and Islamist opposition activists, chanted slogans urging the authorities to sever diplomatic ties with neighbouring Israel.
“The people want to bring down the Wadi Araba peace treaty,” said a protester, referring to the country’s peace accord with Israel signed in 1994, the second that was concluded by an Arab country with Israel after Egypt’s own deal in 1979.
Jordan has long maintained close security cooperation with Israel but has been critical of the Israeli treatment of Palestinians and fears a spillover of violence if Israel does not broker peace with the Palestinians.
The call for large scale protests organised on Facebook this week prompted Israel to temporarily withdraw its ambassador to Jordan. Israeli diplomatic sources said Ambassador Daniel Nevo and his senior staff, who routinely spend weekends in Israel, were brought back early .
In Egypt, the Israeli embassy was stormed by demonstrators on Saturday, forcing its evacuation. The countries are in talks on reactivating the Cairo mission.
Most of Jordan’s seven million citizens are of Palestinian origin and have close family ties with their kin on the other side of the Jordan River.
Reporting by Suleiman Al-Khalidi, Editing by Rosalind Russell