May 24, 2023

On Wednesday, the Jordanian parliament voted by a majority on a proposal to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman in response to far-right finance minister Bezalel Smotrich’s use of the map of Israel, which includes the kingdom and the Palestinian territories, and his denial of the existence of the Palestinian people.

“There is a proposal to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman (Eitan Surkis),” Parliament Speaker Ahmed al-Safadi said during a meeting broadcast by official Jordanian television.

It is not clear how many of the 130 council members voted in favor.

Al Safadi urged his country’s government to “take effective and efficient action against the finance minister of the occupying government, using a map that includes the borders of the Kingdom and the occupied Palestinian territories”, noting that “this is unacceptable and constitutes a violation of the peace treaty and international norms.”

Smotrich’s speech, in which he denied the existence of Palestinians as individuals and as a people, during an evening hosted by an extremist Zionist group in Paris on Sunday was heavily criticized even by Washington.

Video clips and photographs of Smotrich making these statements from the podium were hung on a map of “Greater Israel”, which includes Jordan and the Palestinian territories.

Al-Safadi said on Wednesday that “the statements by the occupying government’s finance minister reflect the image of his extremist government and will only strengthen the resilience of Jordanians for their leadership, army and security services.”

He stressed that this “will only increase the resilience of the Palestinian people in the face of the machine of war and destruction that continues to desecrate our Islamic and Christian shrines in Jerusalem.”

Al-Safadi added: “The criminal and extremist actions of the occupiers undermine all efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace and make the international community responsible for either upholding the people’s right to self-determination or siding with an extremist government.”

The majority vote in the House of Representatives on the proposal to expel the Israeli ambassador from Amman came two days after he was summoned to the Foreign Office to protest Smotrich’s behavior.

The vote of the House of Representatives is non-binding, according to the Jordanian constitution, any decision must be approved by the Jordanian government and then by the king.

In 2021, all members of the council signed a memorandum calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador from Amman and the recall of the Jordanian ambassador from Tel Aviv.

Jordan and Israel signed a peace treaty in 1994 that ended decades of war between them.

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