The new Jordanian justice minister, Hussein Mjali, continued to bash Israel Wednesday after having praised a soldier who murdered seven Israeli girls in 1997.
In an interview with the Jordanian al-Arab al-Youm, Mjali called Israel "the enemy" and "a terror state".
Immediately following the publication of his comments, a spokesman for the Jordanian foreign ministry remarked that they do not reflect the official views of the government. The spokesman stressed that Mjali had been airing his own personal views as part of the freedom of speech granted to all Jordanian citizens.
Earlier this week the minister took part in a protest for Corp. Ahmed Daqamseh's release. He said that Israel would have built a monument if a Jew had been murdered by Arabs and expressed his support of the protestors calling for Daqamseh's release. "He's a hero, he doesn’t deserve to be imprisoned," he told protestors.
Daqamseh, a Jordanian soldier, shot seven Israeli schoolgirls dead in March of 1997 while they were on an outing near Jordan's border with Israel. Then 30 years old, the soldier was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Yaakov Hadas, a senior official at the Foreign Ministry, told a representative from the Jordanian embassy that Israel is shocked and rejects the justice minister's comments.
He noted that Israel expects the Jordanian government to categorically condemn the minister's statements immediately.
"We demand the Jordanian government clarify that it rejects all calls to release the loathsome murderer and that he will keep on serving his sentence," the Jordanian envoy was told. Israel's Ambassador to Amman Daniel Nevo also protested the matter among senior ranks in the country.
Mjali was called in to a meeting with Jordan's prime minister, Dr. Marouf Suleiman al-Bakhit, and said afterwards that "it was obvious (the government) would publish a stance contradicting mine on the release of Daqamseh".
"Israel is the enemy and we must stand before it as a people with a unified stance," he added. Regarding the release of the murderer, for whom Mjali had served as defense attorney, he said it was "my own personal belief, and it is my duty as a minister to express it".