Jordanian minister calls Israel ‘enemy and terrorist state’
Jordan’s new Justice Minister Hussein Mjali called Israel an “enemy and terrorist state” in an interview with Jordanian Arabic-news daily. Mjali joined protests in Jordan Monday demanding the release of Ahmed al-Daqamseh, a convicted terrorist who gunned downseven Israeli schoolgirls at Naharayim in 1997.
Mjali commented that “Israel arrests and practices destruction on a daily basis, and it is obvious that Israel would issue a counter-position to our request that Ahmed al-Daqamish be released.”
Jordan’s Foreign Ministry immediately issued a statement following Mjali’s comments saying that the justice minister’s opinions do not represent the official government stance, and that Mjali was practicing his right to freedom of speech.
Jordanian officials relayed messages to Israel Tuesday that there were no plans to release Daqamseh. The messages came the same day Israel summoned Jordan’s representative in Tel Aviv to Jerusalem to protest a call that Jordan’s new Justice Minister Hussein Mjali made a day earlier to release Daqamseh.
Yaakov Hadas, the Foreign Ministry’s deputy director-general for the Middle East and the peace process, told the Jordanian official that Israel was shocked and disgusted by Mjali’s comments, especially coming from the official in charge of law and justice in Jordan.
Jordan’s embassy in Tel Aviv has been without an ambassador since the summer, so the conversation was held with the ranking official in the embassy.
Hadas said Israel expected an immediate and unequivocal condemnation of the remarks from the Jordanian government.
He also said Israel expected the Jordanian government to make clear that it rejected calls for Daqamseh’s release, and that he would continue serving his sentence.
Daqamseh was sentenced to life in prison, which in Jordan translates into a 25-year sentence.