The Jordanian parliament has passed a law prohibiting the sale and rent of real estate in the ancient city of Petra to Israeli citizens, reported Ammon News Tuesday, citing the Jordanian daily al-Rai.
The law supposedly followed a growing wave of reports about Israelis buying land in the city, and differentiates between Israeli and other foreign investors. While non-Israeli foreigners are allowed to invest in land located outside Petra Archaeological Park, Israelis are banned from renting or buying real estate in the entire Petra region.
The law – an amendment to the Petra Development and Tourism Authority law – was submitted by MPs Mahmoud Kharabsha and Assaf Shubki.
It passed on Tuesday after “a contentious meeting during which many parliament members voiced strong criticism against Israel, describing it as ‘the enemy’ and ‘the oppressing entity’ and emphasizing that Jordan should take revenge on Israel for its violations on Temple Mount,” Ammon News added.
MP Shubki told the Turkish news agency Anadolu: "Our national sovereignty is more important than foreign investments and I will work together with my colleagues in parliament to enforce the law in all the regions in Jordan and not only in Petra.
"The Zionist enemy contaminates the Palestinian territories and does not respect any international humanitarian treaty. This law is a victory for the Palestinian people and it is the least we can do for them."
Blogger Elder of Ziyon noted that news stories in Arabic on the law indicated that the parliamentarians actually spoke about keeping Jews from buying the land – not Israelis.
He provided a link to a story in Ad-Dustur that included the following passages (emphases added):
“MP Mahmoud Kharabsha called on the government to enact a law prohibiting the sale of land to Jews in the Petra region… MP Kharabsha said that all Jordanians reject the idea of Jews owning lands in Jordan in general and in particular the Petra region… Everyone is against the Jews because of their occupation of the Palestinian land, said MPs… A number of members said, ‘The issue of land leasing in the Petra region must be limited to Arab nationals, and we may not lease land to the Jews and others.’"
The blogger speculated that the law might be worded in a roundabout way that would effectively ban all Jews from buying land in Petra, or it could refer only to Israelis. “Either way,” he opined, “Jordan's antisemitism is revealed by the debate, if not by the precise wording of the law itself.”
Petra, the Nabatean site often referred to in Israel as the Red Rock, has attracted Israelis at least since the 1950s, when Israel and Jordan were still at war. Adventurous youths were known to cross the border and make their way to Petra as a feat of bravado, and some were discovered and killed. Thousands of Israelis visit it every year,