Jordanians protest against ties with Israel

Hundreds protest Jordan's peace treaty with Israel and call on their government to shut down the Israeli embassy.

    Protesters shouted anti-US and Israeli slogans outside the US embassy in Amman [Reuters]

    Hundreds of Jordanians have protested in front of the Israeli embassy in the capital Amman, calling on the Jordanian government to scrap its peace treaty with Israel.

    About 300 demonstrators gathered at the embassy on Thursday after Israel temporarily withrew its ambassadorover fears of the protest turning violent.

    A bigger turnout was expected as activists had called for a "million-man march".

    Scores of police blocked roads to the embassy complex to prevent protesters from marching to the heavily protected mission.

    The demonstrators, a mix of leftist, liberal and Islamist opposition activists, instead gathered near a mosque close to the complex, shouting, "No Zionist embassy on Arab land".

    "The people want to bring down the Wadi Araba peace treaty," one protester said, 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.

    Roughly half of the country's six million population is of Palestinian origin. With Palestinian-Israeli peace talks stalled, some Jordanians fear Israel may try to deport Palestinians to Jordan.

    Jordan's King Abdullah II has spoken out strongly against using Jordan as a substitute for a Palestinian state, a concept favoured by some Israelis.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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