Embassy Evacuated Ahead of Planned Protests in Amman

Premier, FM Lieberman order diplomatic staff in Amman to return a day ahead of schedule over expected anti-Israel rallies.

The Israeli embassy in Amman was closed yesterday and its employees evacuated due to demonstrations planned outside the building today. Foreign Ministry officials decided to evacuate the embassy for fear of violence of the sort that occurred last weekend at the Israeli embassy in Cairo.

"Jordan isn't Egypt, and the king and the security forces are determined to maintain order, but a decision was made not to take chances," a Foreign Ministry source said.

A convoy transporting the Israeli diplomats crossed the Allenby bridge into Israel last night. A Foreign Ministry source said the embassy will be closed today, and the staff will return at a later date.

Israel's ambassador to Jordan, Daniel Nevo, is slated to participate in discussions at the Foreign Ministry today on relations with Jordan.

In accordance with security protocols at the embassy, employees return to Israel each weekend, leaving a skeleton staff of one diplomat and a few security officers.

More than 3,000 Jordanians have already confirmed on Facebook that they plan to attend today's protests, according to the Foreign Ministry source. Officials said they expected a turnout of just a few hundred, and are confident that they would be dispersed without getting out of control.

The anticipated protest comes just three days after King Abdullah declared that the Hashemite Kingdom would not stand idly by in the face of an attempt to settle Palestinians within its borders and turn his country into the Palestinian homeland.

The reasons for the king's unusually splenetic remarks were not immediately obvious, and were initially ascribed to an Israeli diplomatic source who reportedly made disparaging remarks about Abdullah's grip on power.

The king may also have been responding to recent remarks by the current chairman of the Mifal Hapayis national lottery and former deputy Israel Defense Forces chief of staff and National Security Council head, Uzi Dayan.

On Sunday, a workshop in the World Summit on Counter Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center of Herzliya focused on the implications of the declaration of a Palestinian state. The panel included Maj. Gen (res. ) Uri Saguy and Dayan.

Dayan reportedly told the audience: "At the end of the day, the best thing would be a Hashemite Palestinian kingdom headed by the king of Jordan, with its capital in Amman and with three provinces (or districts - A.I.) - the first, on the other side of the Jordan River; the second, the existing Palestinian autonomy in Judea and Samaria; and the third, the Gaza Strip."

Dayan in effect said Jordan should be a Palestinian state, with the Gaza Strip and Judea and Samaria districts of that state.

A figure close to the Jordanian regime reported Dayan's remarks to Amman and later told a retired senior IDF officer that Dayan had committed a grave mistake in voicing his comments.