Israeli embassy staff leave Amman in fear demonstration will turn violent

Rally calling for closure of Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital could mount into scenes like those seen in Cairo

by Harriet Sherwood, The Guardian

Staff at the Israeli embassy in the Jordanian capital Amman left the city ahead of a demonstration planned for Thursday evening, fearing a repetition of last week’s assault on the Israeli diplomatic mission in Cairo.

A foreign ministry official denied the staff had been evacuated, despite Israeli media reports saying a convoy of diplomats had left Jordan overnight.

He said the embassy routinely shut on Thursday afternoons and reopened on Sunday mornings, and that staff, including ambassador Daniel Nevo, had been scheduled to spend the weekend in Jerusalem – less than two hours’ drive from Amman – and their departure had been brought forward by a few hours. A skeleton staff remained, and all staff were expected to return by Sunday morning.

Protesters also gathered outside the US embassy in Amman this week, where they burnt US and Israeli flags.

A rally in support of the Palestinian cause and to demand the closure of the Israeli embassy in Amman was called on Thursday evening. Demonstrators were also demanding the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and that the 1994 peace treaty between the two countries be revoked.

Jordanian authorities reportedly closed off streets around the Israeli embassy in an attempt to prevent scenes like those in Cairo less than a week ago, when protesters ransacked the Israeli embassy. Scores of diplomats and family members were evacuated by the Israeli air force, following US intervention to free six trapped security staff.

The Israeli government fears anti-Israel sentiment in the region is growing. It is also involved in a serious diplomatic dispute with its ally Turkey, whose prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is touring Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

Rising antipathy towards Israel comes as the Palestinians prepare to take their case for statehood to the United Nations next week.

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http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/sep/15/israeli-embassy-staff-leave-amman

Categories: Israel, Jordan, Palestine

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