JERUSALEM, Israel -- King Abdullah II paved the way for early elections Thursday when he issued a royal decree dissolving Jordan's parliament.
Abdullah has been calling for elections by early 2013 at the latest.
The king has been juggling demands by the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist opposition groups in the Hashemite Kingdom.
Like neighboring Egypt, Abdullah struggles with Jordan's (cold) peace treaty with Israel.
The treaty, signed in 1994 between Abdullah's father, the late King Hussein I, and then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (later assassinated), under former U.S. President Bill Clinton, resolved territorial disputes and called for normalization between the two countries.
On the one hand, the treaty has proven mutually beneficial, in tourism, trade, and other shared interests. On the other hand, Abdullah stands firmly with Arab League member nations in support of Palestinian Arab demands against the Jewish state.
Last Friday, Jordanian activists held countrywide anti-Israel demonstrations, burning Israeli flags, chanting "death to Israel," and calling for an end to the peace treaty.
Islamists were especially unhappy with Abdullah's nomination of Fayez Tarawneh for prime minister -- a key player in the signing of the 1994 treaty -- saying he likely still supported peace with Israel.
"This is a person who obviously does not respect the people's will and his words are proof of how out of touch he is with average citizens," Muslim Brother spokesman Jamil Abu Baker said, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz.
Earlier this week, the tribe (extended family) of career diplomat and foreign ministry advisor Walid Khalid Obeidat expressed anger over his appointment as ambassador to Israel.
Jordan recalled former ambassador Ali al-Ayed in 2009 to protest the Israel Defense Force's three-week military incursion into the Gaza Strip to stop Palestinian rocket fire on southern Israel.
"Whoever takes such an appointment upon himself puts his hand in the hands of those who have worked to rob lands and kill Palestinians," the tribe said in a statement, posted by Jordan's al-Dustour newspaper, YNet reported.
"Nothing will prevent the tribe from sticking to its tough stand toward anyone abandoning its values. This tribe was one of the first to understand the dangers of the Zionist settlement scheme in the 1920s," the statement concluded.
The Islamic Action Front, the "political" arm of the Brotherhood's Jordanian branch, threatened to delegitimize any future parliament unless it gets a bigger piece of the political pie. It has rallied the opposition to boycott any new elections.