West News Wire: A minister in Israel’s far-right cabinet caused controversy earlier this week when he disputed that the Palestinian people even exist, and the parliament of Jordan has now voted to request that Israel’s ambassador to Amman be expelled from the nation in retaliation.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Ahmed al-Safadi urged the administration to act in response to Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich during the legislative session.
Smotrich stated on Sunday: “There are no Palestinians because there is no Palestinian people.” He was speaking while seated at a podium decorated with a map depicting a fictitious expanded Israel that included Jordan and the entirety of the occupied Palestinian area.
The incident led to an angry backlash and the Israeli ambassador in Amman was summoned by the Jordanian foreign ministry to register its objections. The governments of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also issued statements condemning Smotrich’s words and actions.
On Monday, Jordanian officials said Israel’s national security adviser had told them that Israel respected the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbour.
The Jordanian parliament said that it was united in rejecting Smotrich’s comments, calling his actions a reflection of “Israeli arrogance”.
In his response to the parliamentarians, Jordan’s Deputy Prime Minister Tawfiq Krishan said that the fall-out from the incident had united Jordanians.
“The map of Jordan is drawn only by Jordanians,” Krishan said.
Israel and Jordan signed a peace treaty in 1994, having fought against each other in 1948 and 1967.
Many Jordanians are Palestinian in origin, the descendants of Palestinians forced from their homes by Israel.