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Arabic press review: Jordanian MPs urge withdrawal of ambassador from Israel

Call from lawmakers comes a day after Israeli court reorders Al-Aqsa gate closure. Meanwhile, a Saudi minister meets an Iranian official in Iraq
A protest in Amman in December 2017 against the US president's decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel (AFP)

Jordanian MPs push to cut ties with Israel 

Jordanian lawmakers have recommended that the kingdom withdraw its ambassador from Israel, a day after an Israeli court reordered the closure of a gate at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, according to Jordanian newspaper Al-Ghad.

During an exceptional meeting on Monday, Jordanian MPs discussed Israeli procedures in Jerusalem, including those regarding Islamic holy sites such as Al-Aqsa, which has been under Jordanian management since 1967.

The parliamentary members ordered their government to talk with the UN and the Arab League immediately to protect Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is under serious Israeli threat, according to Al-Ghad.

Lawmakers asked the government to give more details about US President Donald Trump’s so-called "Deal of the Century" peace plan, and any international efforts to save Jerusalem against Israeli encroachment on the city.

Secret meeting between Saudi minister and Iranian official

Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Gulf Affairs Thamer al-Sabhan met with a senior aide to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a visit to Iraq last week, diplomatic sources told news website Arabi21.

The meeting, according to Arabi21, came as a direct result of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's conviction that his country has suffered heavy losses in its ongoing proxy battle with Iran in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Bin Salman, the sources told Arabi21, is easing his rhetoric against Iran, and the meeting, which was sponsored by Iraq, could pave the way for new relations between the two countries.

"The meeting reflected the difficult situation facing Saudi Arabia because of the political crises the kingdom is going through due to the war in Yemen and the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul," one of the sources said.

UAE plans Socotra all-women defence unit

The United Arab Emirates is attempting to establish an all-female military squad on the Yemeni island of Socotra, reports Arabi21.

Around 100 women are currently training at the Khawla Bint Al-Azwar Military School in Abu Dhabi before they return to the island to serve as soldiers under Emirati command, a source close to authorities in Socotra told the news website.

The women were among dozens of Socotra locals who were transported to the UAE recently on the pretext of expanding the country's foreign labour force, but are in fact preparing for combat.

Tensions flared last year between Socotran officials and the UAE after the Emiratis dispatched military forces to the island without coordinating with the Yemeni government. The landing drew then Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr to visit and reassert Yemeni sovereignty last year.

The incident limited the UAE's influence over the island, but has not completely stopped it, Arabi21 reports.

* Arabic press review is a digest of reports that are not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye.