Jordan MPs call for tough response to Israel over border killing

Published March 12th, 2014 - 06:44 GMT

 MPs delivered strongly worded and emotional speeches during Tuesday’s Lower House session, demanding a firm response to the killing of Jordanian Judge Raed Zuaiter by Israeli soldiers on Monday.

The government reaction to the incident was the focus of most speeches delivered by the deputies who spoke during the three-hour session.

They demanded that the government expel the Israeli ambassador to Amman and recall the Jordanian ambassador from Tel Aviv.

The heated session also witnessed an attempt to burn the Israeli flag by a visitor in the gallery.

Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh ordered security personnel to deal with the situation, describing such behaviour as an “attempt to prevent the Lower House from taking a strong position through constitutional channels”.

Security personnel moved quickly and managed to prevent the attempt, escorting the visitor, who is said to be a lawyer, outside the chamber.

Dozens of audience members in the gallery were members of the Jordan Bar Association or activists who participated in a sit-in outside Parliament earlier in the day.

MPs also demanded that the government recommend issuing a special pardon for Ahmad Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier who is serving a life sentence for killing seven Israeli schoolgirls in the Baqoura area near the Jordanian-Israeli border in 1997. 

Deputies also called for annulling the peace treaty with Israel.

“Unless the government meets our demands, we must proceed with a petition of no-confidence vote,” veteran MP Abdul Karim Dughmi (Mafraq, 1st District) said.

Other deputies supported his proposal. 

Nine blocs representing a majority in the Lower House delivered speeches at the beginning of the session, after which independent MPs started their speeches, but Tarawneh decided to adjourn the meeting to Wednesday as the total number of MPs who wished to take the podium was too high for one session.

Also on Tuesday, the Senate called for opening a joint “neutral” investigation into the incident, stressing the need to put an end to Israeli “disrespect” and hold the perpetrators accountable. 

In a statement, the senators also urged the government to follow up on the “heinous” crime and take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of Jordanians passing through crossing points to the West Bank and Israel, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

In addition, political parties, human rights groups, universities and associations denounced the killing of the Amman Court of First Instance judge, describing the act as “cowardly”. 

They called for forming a special court to try Israeli leaders and those involved in such atrocities and urged the government to expel the Israeli ambassador to Jordan. 

Moreover, they urged Arab and Muslim states to cut their political, diplomatic or economic ties with Israel, according to Petra.

Protests were held early Tuesday at the Palace of Justice, where Zuaiter worked, and in front of Parliament to protest against the killing. 

By Khaled Neimat

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