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Sunday, 31 March, 2002, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Jordan warns Israel over crackdown
Pro-Arafat march in Jordan's largest Palestinian refugee camp Baqaa
Palestinians in Jordan demonstrate their feelings
Jordan has summoned the Israeli ambassador and threatened unspecified measures in protest at the assault on the headquarters of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

Jordan's Foreign Minister Marwan Muasher told the Israeli Ambassador, David Dadonn, that "if Israel pursues its actions against the Palestinians and does not immediately withdraw (from the territories) Jordan will take measures".

He also formally asked the five permanent members of the UN Security Council to send an international military force immediately to the Palestinian territories.

Protest in Bahrain
Anti-Israeli anger has spread across the Arab world
Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, but there have been angry anti-Israeli demonstrations in the past few days in the capital, Amman, and in Palestinian refugee camps.

A Jordanian Government official quoted by the French AFP news agency said that "breaking off diplomatic ties is a measure that Jordan will only take if it is forced to do so, because a dialogue under the current circumstances is vital and only Jordan can undertake it".

Correspondents say Jordan could further downgrade its representation in Israel, ask the Israeli ambassador to leave or suspend ties.

Jordan delayed the departure of its new ambassador to Israel in October 2000 in protest at Israel's crackdown on the Palestinians.

Arab world in ferment

Arabs across the Middle East have demonstrated in their thousands against the Israeli military action in the West Bank.

Morocco's King Mohamed VI has also threatened to take unspecified measures against Israel unless it pulls its troops out of Ramallah, Qatar-based Al-Jazeera television reported.

Egypt - the first Arab country to sign a peace deal with Israel - on Sunday condemned Washington's failure to criticise Israel's assault in Ramallah.

"Admittedly, the United States cannot or does not want to put pressure on Israel, but Israel needs someone to save it from itself," said Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher.

"I cannot imagine that the United States can stay silent in the face of these Israeli actions without saying: enough, enough, enough."

See also:

31 Mar 02 | Middle East
Gun battle erupts in Arafat offices
30 Mar 02 | Middle East
US backs UN on Mid-East crisis
30 Mar 02 | Middle East
Sharon's strong-arm tactic
28 Mar 02 | Middle East
Arabs offer Israelis peace plan
12 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Jordan
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