Thousands Protest Israel in Jordan Over Shooting of Judge

Protesters call for an end to peace treaty after Israeli soldiers shoot Jordanian-Palestinian judge on border crossing.

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Thousands of Jordanian protesters called on the kingdom to put an end to its peace treaty with Israel in the capital Amman on Friday, following the shooting of a Jordanian-Palestinian judge by Israeli soldiers at the border crossing between the West Bank and Jordan earlier this week.

Some of the protesters, among them members of Islamist, nationalist and leftist groups, shoved against riot police lines, trying to attack the Israeli embassy. Police officers carrying shields and batons chased some protesters in the streets.

The death of Raed Zueter, a Jordanian magistrate of Palestinian descent, has caused an uproar in Jordan, triggering street protests and calls in parliament to annul the 1994 peace agreement with Israel. The Israeli military said that guards shot Zueter on Monday after he tried to grab a rifle from a soldier at the Allenby Crossing.

Jordanian officials say Israel later apologized. Israel has shared the results of its preliminary investigation with Jordan, and agreed to a Jordanian request to establish a joint investigation into Zueter's killing.

Relatives of the deceased judge have demanded a thorough investigation, and are attempting to locate further witnesses, among them a group of British tourists.

"We will not accept less than the annulment of the peace treaty and deportation the Israeli ambassador and to announce that Jews are enemies for our nation," Hammam Saeed, the general secretary of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan, told The Associated Press. "We demand a strong reaction, not only useless talking."

Protestors also called for the release of Ahmed Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier imprisoned for shooting a group of Israeli school girls on a field trip in Naharayim in 1997, killing seven of them.

About half of Jordan's population is Palestinian and public anger against Israel is common. However, Israel and Jordan, a key Middle East ally of the U.S., signed a peace deal in 1994 and maintain strong security ties.

In February, Jordan's parliament voted unanimously to expel the Israeli ambassador and recall its own envoy after Israeli lawmakers debated a proposal to take over a Jerusalem holy site administered by Jordanians. However, the vote was not binding and the Cabinet has yet to take any action on the request.

Jordanian protesters set fire to an Israeli flag during a demonstration in front of the Israeli embassy in Amman, March 14, 2014Credit: AFP

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