Jordanian reporters walked out en masse when Israeli journalists and officials entered the communications center at the World Economic Forum Sunday. The Forum is being held in Aqaba, Jordan.
The Israelis – a group of government officials and a larger number of reporters – were following President Shimon Peres, who is to speak at the event. The Jordanian reporters demanded that the Israelis leave, in line with the semi-official boycott of all Israelis and Israeli-related events by professional groups in Jordan. Claiming that the press center was their “home,” the Jordanian group shouted at the Israelis and demanded they leave right away.
WEF officials intervened and attempted to keep the peace, but were unsuccessful. The Israelis refused to leave, and the Jordanians then staged a mass walkout. After further persuasion by WEF officials, the Jordanians agreed to return.
When the Jordanians returned, Peres told reporters that “the time for peace had come,” and that the appointment of John Kerry as U.S. Secretary of State had provided Israel and the Palestinian Authority with an “opportunity. We cannot afford to be cynical.”
Peres and Kerry are scheduled to speak at the WEF on Sunday night.