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Jordan hints at possibility of expelling Israeli ambassador

Authorities have allowed the public to express their support for Palestinians as violence escalates in the West Bank and Gaza.

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On Monday, the Jordanian government promised to examine a parliamentary request to expel the Israeli ambassador as the authorities take a tougher diplomatic line against Israel in response to the conflict in Gaza.

Official media quoted Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh saying that the government will look into the request “in accordance with our national interest”.

The parliament “unanimously” presented a memo to the government on Monday demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador in Amman, state television said.

The two countries have been at peace since the 1994 Wadi Araba Treaty. “We have our options in Jordan, including the legal and the diplomatic, to protect and defend our brothers in Palestine,” Al-Khasawneh said.

“There is no place for these crimes and for this arrogance, and for this occupation to last.”

Israel continued airstrikes on Gaza on Monday, while Hamas retaliated by firing rockets at Israeli cities.

The tension this month over eviction orders of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem grew into a conflict between Gaza militants supported by Iran and Israel.

The most recent death toll released on Monday reached 204 people. Most were killed by Israeli strikes.

Many Jordanian officials regard Israeli pressure on the Palestinians in the past decade as a threat to Jordan’s security.

They say another wave of Palestinian refugees could undermine the Kingdom’s cohesion.

Officials say the Kingdom has begun intensive diplomatic talks to convince world powers in curbing a disproportionate Israeli response against Gaza, which has been ruled by Hamas militants since a Palestinian civil war in 2007.

Jordan has been the main destination for Palestinians fleeing the 1948 and 1967 conflicts. They and their descendants comprise a large proportion of Jordan’s 10 million population.

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