Jordanian lawmakers have called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador following “racist” remarks by a far-right Israeli minister, who recently denied the existence of the Palestinian people.
During the legislative session on Wednesday, Jordanian House of Representatives Speaker Ahmed al-Safadi called on the government to take action in response to Israeli finance minister Bezalel Smotrich who said on Sunday there was "no such thing as a Palestinian people," or Palestinian history or culture.
The Palestine Committee and a large number of MPs in the Jordanian Parliament had submitted several proposals asking for the expulsion. The House of Representatives almost unanimously approved the motion.
The Jordanian Parliament said that it was united in rejecting Smotrich’s comments, calling his actions a reflection of “Israeli arrogance.”
The bill now requires the approval of the Senate and the signing of the Jordanian king in order to be implemented.
During a conference in Paris, Smotrich denied the existence of Palestine and stood beside a map of Israeli-occupied territories that included the West Bank, Gaza and most of Jordan.
“There are no Palestinians because there are no Palestinian people,” the far-right Israeli minister said. “There are Arabs around who don't like it, so what do they do? They invent a fictitious people and claim fictitious rights to the land of Israel, only to fight the Zionist movement," he added.
The Israeli ambassador was also summoned due to what Amman called "racist" and "extremist" behavior by the regime’s finance minister.
"These statements are provocative, racist and come from an extremist figure and we call on the international community to condemn it," Jordan's Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said at a news conference on Tuesday.
The governments of Egypt and the United Arab Emirates also issued statements condemning Smotrich’s words and actions.
Speaking before a cabinet meeting on Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh also said Smotrich’s “inflammatory statements are consistent with the first Zionist sayings of a land without a people for a people without a land.”
He said the comments were “conclusive evidence of the extremist, racist Zionist ideology” of the current Israeli cabinet.
Smotrich was sworn in last year as a member of the regime’s new far-right cabinet led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
He and his Zionist group have a history of making incendiary remarks about the Palestinians.
In February, Smotrich called for the Palestinian town of Huwara in the occupied West Bank to be “wiped out.”
Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers then attacked Huwara and the nearby villages and torched dozens of houses and cars. One Palestinian was killed and at least 390 injured in the ferocious attacks, with Palestinian media reporting stabbings and attacks with metal rods and rocks. The settlers were reportedly angered by the killing of two Israeli settlers by a Palestinian gunman in Huwara.
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