Israeli diplomats evacuate embassy in Amman after Jordanians’ call to protest

Thursday, 15 September 2011


Israeli diplomats evacuated the embassy in Amman after Jordanians scheduled to stage a protest outside the building, Alarabiya correspondent reported on Thursday.

Israel’s ambassador to Jordan, Danny Navon, remained behind to be in charge of the evacuated embassy, but later received orders from his government to immediately return to Tel Aviv.

Navon was returning to Israel with his staff on Thursday, fearing a large demonstration planned outside the embassy later in the day, Israeli public radio reported.

Jordanian activists have posted calls for a mass rally on social networking site Facebook under the banner “No Zionist embassy on Jordanian territory.”

The Israeli foreign ministry spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Jordanian opposition groups, including Islamists, leftists and youth activists, have said they plan to hold their demonstration at around 6:30 pm (1530 GMT).

In Jordan, a foreign ministry spokesman told AFP: “We have not been officially informed of anything.”

The incident comes as a continuation of last week’s episode, when dozens of protesters stormed into the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, dumping hundreds of documents out of the windows. The incident which left more than 215 people injured after violent clashes between protesters and security forces, compelled the Egyptian ruling army to declare a state of alert.

Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel, was keen not to disturb its relations with the Jewish state, and had some of its Egyptian commandos escorting six Israeli staff to safety.

Both governments communicated that they wanted relations to stay unchanged, but Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood urged its government to “revise” its relations with Israel.

In Jordan, despite signing the peace treaty with Israel in 1994, many Jordanians still reject the relation. The Arab World traditionally sees the formation of the Jewish state as an occupation of Palestinian land, and at least half of Jordan’s population are consisted of former Palestinians.

Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton extended a Middle East trip on Wednesday to hold more talks aimed at averting a Palestinian bid for statehood at the United Nations, Reuters reported officials as saying.

Ashton is in the region to meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders as well as diplomats from Arab countries, part of an intense international effort to revive peace talks.

Senior U.S. envoys were due in the Middle East as well this week, in what appears to be a last-ditch push to dissuade the Palestinians from seeking to upgrade their U.N. status this month — a step Israel strongly opposes.

Washington has expressed concern that bringing the issue of Palestinian statehood to the United Nations would damage prospects for new peace talks aimed at creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

Meanwhile, hardline Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned Wednesday there will be “harsh and grave consequences” if the Palestinians persist with their plan to seek U.N. membership as a state.

Source: al-Arabyia.

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