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Parliament votes for expelling Israeli envoy in response to judge’s death

By Khaled Neimat , Petra - Mar 12,2014 - Last updated at Mar 12,2014

AMMAN — The Lower House on Wednesday postponed a discussion over a vote of no-confidence petition to next week, giving the government almost a week to act and meet the MPs demands over measures against Israel after occupation soldiers shot and killed a Jordanian judge.

The decision came at the end of the Lower House’s session on Wednesday as lawmakers concluded two days of deliberations over the death of Judge Raed Zuaiter, which triggered a nationwide popular uproar.

As many as 110 deputies of the 150-strong legislature took the podium to comment on the incident, with all demanding a tough response to Israel.

In an unbinding decision, they voted unanimously for expelling the Israeli ambassador and to recalling the Jordanian ambassador in Tel Aviv.

A similar decision was taken recently after Israeli lawmakers filed a motion to strip Jordan of custodianship over the Islamic shrines in East Jerusalem. 

They also demanded the Israeli government to release all Jordanian and Palestinian prisoners and called for placing the crossing points between Jordan and the West Bank under joint Jordanian-Palestinian control.

The MPs turned down two more suggestions including compensation for Zuaiter’s family and reopening Hamas’ offices in Amman.

At the end of the session, Lower House Speaker Atef Tarawneh decided to include the proposed vote of no-confidence to the House’s meeting on Tuesday, leaving Sunday’s session for legislative matters, as the MPs have not completed their deliberations over the draft amendments to the Agriculture Law.

Also during the session, deputies voted in favour of releasing Ahmad Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier who shot seven Israeli girls in 1997 and has since been serving a life sentence in a local prison.

 

Zuaiter’s son

 

Following instructions by Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour, Minister of Environment and acting Minister of Health Taher Shakhshir checked on the condition of Zuaiter’s son who is receiving treatment at Istiklal Hospital. 

The minister listened to a briefing on the health condition of the child who suffers from obesity and has reportedly been in a coma. 

Shakhshir called for forming a medical committee comprising a number of doctors to supervise the child’s case and provide him with the best medical care.  

 

Protests continue

 

The Jordan Engineers Association (JEA) on Wednesday staged a sit-in outside the Professional Associations Complex in Amman, protesting the killing of Zuaiter. 

According to a JEA statement sent to The Jordan Times, protesters shouted slogans against “the Zionist entity”, calling on the government to expel the Israeli ambassador to Jordan. 

“What a shame, what a shame, the ambassador’s still here,” the activists shouted, referring that Tel Aviv’s envoy is still in Amman. 

JEA President Abdullah Obeidat also called for releasing Daqamseh. 

Obeidat added that “the killing of Zuaiter has united Jordanians and Palestinians at a time many are trying to separate them”.

In his speech, he also called for the cancellation of Wadi Araba Peace Treaty between Jordan and Israel, saying that the treaty has not contributed to the protection of civilian people, while Israelis still violate holy sites in occupied Jerusalem. 

The martyr’s cousin, Sari Zuaiter, expressed appreciation for the Jordanians’ strong response to the death of the judge. 

He said that the coffin of Zuaiter was covered with both Jordanian and Palestinian flags, a scene that underlined the unity of the two peoples. 

Israel expressed regret over the incident and agreed to a joint probe with Jordan.

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