The parliament of Jordan has voted to recommend the expulsion of Israel’s ambassador to Amman from the country in protest against the behaviour of a minister in Israel’s far-right government, who stirred controversy earlier this week after he denied the existence of the Palestinian people.
During the legislative session, House of Representatives Speaker Ahmed al-Safadi called on the government to take action in response to Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
Keep readinglist of 3 items
Smotrich on Sunday said: “There are no Palestinians, because there isn’t a Palestinian people,” while standing at a podium adorned with a map that showed a fictional expanded Israel including all of the occupied Palestinian territory and Jordan.
The incident led to an angry backlash and the Israeli ambassador in Amman was summoned by the Jordanian foreign ministry to register its objections. The governments of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also issued statements condemning Smotrich’s words and actions.
On Monday, Jordanian officials said Israel’s national security adviser had told them that Israel respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbour.
The Jordanian parliament said that it was united in rejecting Smotrich’s comments, calling his actions a reflection of “Israeli arrogance”.
In his response to the parliamentarians, Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister Tawfiq Krishan said that the fall-out from the incident had united Jordanians.
“The map of Jordan is drawn only by Jordanians,” Krishan said.
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, having fought against each other in 1948 and 1967.
Many Jordanians are Palestinian in origin, the descendants of Palestinians forced from their homes by Israel.