Jordan Condemns Aggression against Jordanians in Southern Lebanon

Published June 25th, 2000 - 02:00 GMT

The Jordanian and Lebanese governments condemned the Israeli shooting of four Jordanians on the Lebanese border Saturday. 

A government statement condemned Israeli aggression against its nationals, while Lebanese President Emile Lahoud added his condemnation and called on the United Nations to look into the incident, in which the four Jordanians were wounded by Israeli gunfire in southern Lebanon. 

"The government of the kingdom of Jordan is shocked and displeased following this incident that it considers outright aggression against unarmed Jordanian citizens," according to an official statement in Amman late Saturday. 

The statement came after four Jordanians demonstrating against Israel at its border with Lebanon were shot and lightly wounded Saturday by Israeli troops. 

The Israeli army said the men were shot after they tried to "infiltrate Israeli territory." 

A statement from Lahoud said: "This aggression shows why there is good reason for Lebanese fears about the Israeli enemy following his withdrawal from nearly all of the Lebanese territory (it was occupying)." 

"We call on the UN to look into what has happened," said Lahoud, adding: "Israel is not taking account of international conventions ... including freedom of expression." 

Lebanese Prime Minister Salim Hoss said: "This incident shows that Israel is following its policy of aggression against Lebanon. The international community is called upon to look into this criminal act," he told reporters. 

Hizbullah said in a statement: "The UN Security Council must take up the case of this aggression which targets Lebanese sovereignty." 

Ali Abu Sukkar, 39, of the Islamic Action Front and Ghassan al-Hage, 26, received slight injuries after being hit in the back and legs by rubber bullets fired by Israeli troops, a Jordanian who traveled with them said. 

Said Saleh, a 45-year-old union activist, and Rashed al-Rahami, 58, a member of a committee that opposes relations with Israel, were also slightly hurt, said Azzam Hindi, vice president of Jordan's engineers' union. 

The Jordanians had gathered at Fatima Gate across from Metulla, Israel, to "congratulate Lebanon's people, government and anti-Israeli resistance for their victory against the Israeli enemy" and were peacefully protesting when shot, Hindi said. 

The Jordanian government statement said it was in "permanent contact with the Jordanian embassy in Beirut and with competent authorities among Lebanese brothers awaiting results of an inquiry into the incident." 

"We confirm that the aggression against the unarmed Jordanian citizens is an unjustified and unacceptable matter, whatever the circumstances," the statement continued. 

"We condemn and strongly denounce this aggression which sows the doubt over the truthfulness of (Israeli) intentions," it said. 

The Jordanians were taken to a nearby hospital in Marjayoun in southern Lebanon, where Sukar and Hage underwent minor surgery to remove the bullets and the other two received emergency care, a hospital official said. 

Sukkar suffered the most severe injuries with a bullet reaching his lungs, said surgeon Walid Ramdan, who predicted a quick recovery. 

The four Jordanians were all released from the hospital and were headed toward Beirut, said the head of the Jordanian group, Taher Shakhshir. 

Hindi said the Israelis shot the four Jordanians after they shouted slogans that included "God Is Great," "Palestine is Arab" and "We Want to Die For Palestine." 

"The Jewish soldiers, posted behind the barbed wire, opened fire without any member of our delegation throwing a stone in their direction," Hindi said. 

An Israeli spokesman said the protesters had been trying to enter Israeli territory illegally and ignored warning shots. 

"The soldiers then shot their legs, forcing them to leave," the spokesman said. 

Six Palestinian refugees and three Lebanese have been injured in border incidents since Israel pulled back to its borders - AMMAN (AFP) 

 

© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)

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