King Abdullah
King AbdullahIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The Jordanian prosecution authorities have given the green light to a criminal proceeding in Jordan's courts against Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin and MK Aryeh Eldad. They are being charged with endangering of the sovereignty of the Hashemite Kingdom by saying that Jordan is the Palestinian state.

The charges were brought by four lawyers who contend that Rivlin and Eldad called for turning Jordan into the Palestinian state and creating a 'Larger Israel' on both banks of the Jordan River.

The plaintiffs said that the statements by Rivlin and Eldad endanger Jordan, and can thus be prosecuted according to Section 118 of the Jordanian Criminal Law. They note that Jordanian law applies to foreign citizens who attempt to damage the country's sovereignty.

A court date for the proceeding has not been set.

The Israeli Ambassador to Jordan was reprimanded by the Jordanian Foreign Minister in May 2009, when MK Eldad made his statement. Eldad was unrepentant, however, and repeated his claim: “Jordan is Palestine, period.”

About 70% of Jordan's population is Palestinian but the kingdom is ruled by the Hashemite minority. Both present-day Israel and present-day Jordan were included in the British Palestine Mandate after World War I, but the British gave 80% of the territory -- then known as Transjordan -- to the Arabs, and advocated the partition of the rest of the land between Arabs and Jews.