World, Middle East

Jordan MP challenges Israeli counterpart to fistfight

Planned showdown fails to materialize after Israeli PM tells right-wing Knesset member to stand down

02.08.2017 - Update : 03.08.2017
Jordan MP challenges Israeli counterpart to fistfight FILE PHOTO

By Abdul Rauf Arnaut and Laith al-Junaidi


A Jordanian lawmaker challenged a member of the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to a duel this week amid ongoing tensions between the two countries.

The drama began late last month when Oren Hazen, an MP for Israel’s right-wing Likud party, criticized Jordan after an Israeli embassy guard in Amman killed two Jordanians who had allegedly attacked him.

“It looks like our friends to the east in Jordan -- those who we give water to and whose behinds we protect day and night -- need some reeducation," Hazen tweeted last week.

Angered by the comment, Jordanian MP Yahya al-Saud later challenged Hazen to a Wednesday fistfight on the Allenby Bridge that links Jordan to the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

The situation appeared to escalate further after Hazen tweeted a photo of himself getting a haircut and breathing into an inhaler in apparent preparation for the showdown.

The photo was accompanied by a caption that read, “Preparing for my summit with the Jordanian representative. I come in peace.”

Al-Saud responded to the tweet by vowing to beat up Hazan in revenge for the death on July 23 of the two Jordanians in Amman.

On Wednesday morning, the Jordanian MP arrived at the bridge for the planned fistfight. His Israeli counterpart, however, failed to show up after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly urged him not to proceed with the duel.

The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, becoming the second Arab country after Egypt to formally recognize the self-proclaimed Jewish state.

The perennial dispute between Israel and the Palestinians, however, has continued to dog Israel-Jordan relations, particularly in light of the kingdom’s sizeable Palestinian population.

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