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Jordanian deputies sign motion demanding closure of Israeli embassy in Amman

Aug. 2, 2017 4:00 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 2, 2017 5:02 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Jordanian deputies on Tuesday signed a motion demanding the closure of the Israeli embassy in Jordan in response to a deadly incident last month in which an Israeli embassy security guard shot and killed two Jordanian civilians.

Deputy Khalid Ramadan Awada told Ma’an that 78 out of 130 deputies had signed the motion demanding that the Deputies Council urge the Jordanian government to close the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital of Amman.

The motion also demanded that the Jordanian ambassador to Israel leave Israel at once in order “to express rejection of the Jordanian government handling of the issue and returning the killer to Israel.”

“Jordanian blood and Jordanians’ dignity are not cheap and the government was supposed to stand for the right of the blood that was shed and maintain their dignity strongly and firmly,” the motion read.

Awawda added that if the Jordanian government did not respond to the demands, “a number of procedures will be taken.”

The motion came days after hundreds of Jordanians protested in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman in order to demand its closure and cancel the Israeli-Jordanian “Wadi Araba treaty” signed in 1994 to support cooperation between the two countries.

Staff members of the Israeli embassy to Jordan, including the security guard referred to only as Ziv -- who killed Jordanian citizens Muhammad Zakariya al-Jawawdeh, 17, and Bashar Hamarneh -- returned to Israel on July 24, a day of high tensions following the shooting incident.

Jordanian news sites reported that Jordan’s King Abdullah had criticized Netanyahu’s welcoming home of the guard as “a political showoff,” saying it was "provocative and destabilizes security and encourages extremism in the region.”

Abdullah had also demanded that Israeli authorities prosecute the guard for the killings.

Official Jordanian news agency Petra reported on Monday that the case had been referred to a prosecutor for further legal steps, as Jordan and Israel have sparred over whether the security guard should be handed over to Jordanian custody.

Israel has refused to allow Jordanian authorities to question the injured Israeli security guard, citing his immunity under the Vienna Conventions -- a body of international law which Israel has been accused of regularly violating.

Relations between Israel and Jordan were already tense before the Amman shooting, as Israeli authorities had installed increased security measures in Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which is under Jordanian custodianship, following a deadly shooting attack on July 14. However, the security measures were lifted completely after noon prayers on Friday.

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